“The Wisdom to be a Fool”

Being a Fool

Most people place a great deal of importance and priority on what they know and on control. Yet as I help my clients realize, both knowledge and control-while valuable-are over-rated in their power to create happiness and peace in life. So if being in control with lots of knowledge doesn’t create the happiness and peace we are all seeking, what does? My answer may surprise you-it’s the wisdom to be a fool.

In the Tarot, “The Fool” represents the highest potential for your life; where each day is an adventure to be lived without fear and with trust in where the Universe is taking you. The Fool invites you to place your faith and trust in life and to embrace your courage for realizing happiness and success. The Fool believes in their heart and follows it no matter how crazy or foolish this may seem to others. The Fool is the spirit of who you truly are, expressed and experienced as wonder, innocence, curiosity and delight. You may not know what the future holds, but the Fool invites you to take a chance on yourself and life, with courage and faith.

We are discouraged from choosing the wisdom to be a fool for instead, being in control and in charge. I have learned how powerful being a fool is in most aspects of my life, but especially when it comes to love and happiness. For example, my choice to extend love and support as a parent, to a child who was being unkind to me, was said to be a fool’s choice by my parents. I must admit it was not always the easier choice to extend love versus being unkind back. Yet within me, I knew it wiser to be a fool for love than to simply talk about love but not back it up with my actions.

Being a fool for love, for a dream, for your life requires you know how to listen to your heart and soul as well as you take action on their wisdom. We are taught to entrust facts and figures for being safe and realizing our dreams in life. Yet information without heart, without being held to your deepest values, will result in choices harmful to your happiness and your relationships in life. The soul of your life requires your willingness to engage the mystery of your life for realizing happiness and love in life. The wisdom of a fool indeed!

So how can you embrace the wisdom to be a fool?

1. Choose to embrace the mystery of life more than trying to control life. We are taught our security and safety come from living by what we control and are in charge of in life. This industrial model of life requires a certainty and a consistency to each day and each person we meet, that simply is not realistic nor human’s nature. Instead, become curious again about each day and the people important to you versus constraining them by your expectations of them in your life.

2. Learn how what falls apart in your life is your soul calling, not the failure of someone or something. What falls apart in your life is life removing what does not serve you, making room for your soul in life. Be is a relationship in crisis, health under siege, or the despair which comes from living your fate and not your destiny, within the ashes of what has fallen apart is your holy invitation to your life’s magic and much bigger purpose.

3. Learn the difference between the facts you’ve been handed and your truth. While it is a fact your parents raised you through their beliefs and rules for life, the truth is once you leave their home you get to choose. Yet, every single client I have worked with has struggled with living their sovereignty, which requires they claim their own beliefs and rules for their life. When you do not claim what is true for you-updating the rules and beliefs you grew up with-you will find yourself blaming others for feeling unhappy in life. Claiming your sovereignty is simple to do with some guidance and support.

4. Learn how what challenges you is life’s invitation to create, not facts to resign yourself to. History is full of people who have made a better world through living this truth. Those who trusted their imagination and then took action, created the wheel, the airplane, the internet, etc. All were called fools first and brilliant second. By not being bound to information as truth, these fools made practical improvements from the mystery of their imagination. What might your imagination grace your life with, if you but trusted it and took action on it?

   So where might your life be inviting you to live your wisdom as a fool?

Take a suggestion from me and take a chance on being a fool for love, a fool for happiness, a fool for your life. Believing the facts and figures of life will make you and your relationships happy is not wisdom. To realize more love and happiness in life will require you let go of control and take a risk for love. What is most valuable in life isn’t found in what and who you believe you control in life. What is truly most valuable in life is realized through your choosing the wisdom to be a fool for the mystery and magic of love and life.

 

“Don’t Let Your Holidays get Hijacked by the Past”

Thanksgiving

 This time of year can be tough. Lots of being pitched to for spending money as love, to feel only “happy happy happy!”, and a body that simply wants more sleep due to less sunlight. Add spending time with family you chose to move away from, lots of alcohol and sugar, and your holidays become less about peace and goodwill and a lot more like a marathon. Especially when the people you moved away from can still make you crazy!!

Family is the best and family is the hardest

Getting together with the people you grew up with can be like time-traveling to the past. You are no longer a child and the people you work with or are friends with consider you an adult. Yet getting together with the family you grew up with can give you a case of bad deja’vu and provoke some not so fun emotions in you. Heh! Wasn’t what you didn’t like about your family supposed to go away when you left home?

Behave like a grownup even if others are not

Leaving home is not the same as making peace with those you grew up with. While distance and a place of your own may allow the occasional visit with family to be pleasant enough, the double whammy of alcohol and your longing for a Norman Rockwell holiday can make holidays with family tricky. All it takes is a parent behaving as you hate them behaving and before you can say “world peace”, you’re screaming at them for being a jerk. ‘Kinda like a child having a doozy of a temper tantrum (gulp).

Tend to what’s unresolved with your family….just not while eating Thanksgiving dinner

Many adults haven’t resolved their childhood, limiting their ability to be a grownup with their family. You can choose to avoid your parents or spend way too much energy being angry with a sibling. You wish your parents would change how they treat you, but have you changed how you are with them? The difference between being an adult and being a grownup is one word describes your body and the other word describes your level of personal responsibility and maturity. Guess which one is which?

Commit to being a grownup with your childhood

Will this make your parents see the light and treat you as you want them to treat you? Or prevent a sibling from railing about God intending marriage as only between men and women? I wouldn’t hold my breath, but here’s a little secret about making peace with your past. When you release your past (including the people in it) from having the power to hold your happiness hostage, you release yourself from being bound to your past as well.

Lift your spirits and create a bit of peace of mind and heart

Peace of mind and heart comes from choosing to extend love to your family, even when they give you SO many reasons not to. Choosing to love when reason tells you not to, creates the peace we all seek, where reason does not. The person you hurt the most when you withhold love from others is yourself. Peace doesn’t come from not disagreeing with others. Peace stands a chance when grownups make agreements for keeping the peace. Realize the vast power within you called love, and then be the grownup making things better with your family and in your world.

“Are Ghosts Haunting Your Relationships?”

ghost

In my last article “The Calculus of Relationship”  I talked about how simply pointing fingers at who is wrong in a relationship not going so well, does not make things better. In this follow-up article, I talk about how what may be wreaking havoc in a relationship may not even be present. Yup, could be a ghost haunting your relationship!.

So what do I mean by ghosts haunting a relationship? Simply this-a lot of the battles you find yourself in with people close to you– your partner, your children, your parents or even yourself–can have little to do with the current situation and a lot to do with your past. Past humiliations, past rejections, past traumas all lend themselves to becoming ghosts haunting your life when they have not been resolved. I call them ghosts, for while the event was in the past, it’s wielding a LOT of power in your present life.

For example, your parents believe/d control was next to God and a good child was a controlled child. Emotions? To be controlled with your parents deciding which ones you were permitted and which ones were punished. Fast forward to the conversation you are now having with your husband who keeps asking if something is wrong. You answer “nothing”….so why do you feel like crying-or throwing the glass you are using at his head!? Ahh…the ghost of emotions not permitted or punished is haunting your relationship with your hubby..

Or you hear yourself berating your daughter for an A- (vs an A) on her report card and become aghast as you realize you’ve become possessed by the ghost of your father who found “imperfections” unacceptable. Yikes! Or you make the opposite choice of allowing your teen to diss you, patting yourself on the back for not being a controlling parent. Notice the ghost cackling in the corner?

So what can you do when ghosts are haunting your relationships?

  • Call the Ghost Busters! No really, get some help. Ghosts can be hard for you to see as they feel and look familiar. What is familiar we are often reluctant to change for something unfamiliar, even if we are unhappy with the familiar.
  • Realize your ghosts can be friendly ghosts (remember Caspar?) trying to make life better for you. They are causing mischief to get your attention and where they are causing mischief is where they want you to pay attention.
  • There are common ghosts. The ghost of anger haunts most women; anger at their power and purpose as women having been dismissed and denigrated for generations. This ghost appears in women’s relationships with men as belittling men or women withholding from men, their power to inspire and uplift.
  • Ghosts can be tricky. It is not uncommon for someone I am working with to describe the detested behavior of a parent and surprise! find that same behavior alive and well in themself! Argh. Ghosts remind us there is a difference between not liking a behavior and not having it haunt our behavior as well.

People are busy and time is precious. We are taught to ignore what is bothering us and to simply exercise more control or reach for our drug of choice. But “shoulda, woulda, coulda” are no match for the ghosts haunting our relationships or our life. As the Ghost Busters knew, people who know about ghosts are who you need to call when your relationships are being haunted by ghosts from your past.

Want some help exorcising ghosts in a relationship or life? I offer a free 60 minute consultation by phone for you to explore with me how to stop ghosts from the past from messing with your present and future. To schedule your free 60 minute session CLICK HERE .

“Love More Care Less”

love more

There is a deceptively simple suggestion I offer to people working on themselves or their relationships –”love more, care less”. At first, most are surprised, for being told to care less is not what they are expecting from me. Yet, as I unfold more of what I am inviting them into, their bodies relax as they begin to feel the invitation into more love and less care-taking.

We’ve been taught good people care … good children (take) care of a parent’s happiness, good people (take) care of other people’s feelings (even if it means lying to do so), good people sacrifice themselves for (taking) care of others (often creating resentment towards the person they are caring for), etc. Yet did you know the root meaning of the word “care” is “to lament”? Often, caring carries the shadow of lamenting what is wrong with a person, a situation, whereas love offers compassion, patience, tolerance.

To love more care less brings love’s clarity and courage for true (vs taking) care of another-to receive another as a divine being vs holding them as somehow lacking. Loving more and caring less became my mantra when my elderly and scared parents needed my care. Not as their child still reacting to them emotionally, but as a strong woman offering compassion and tolerance. Loving them more and caring less about what I thought best gave me a new compass to navigate caring for people who needed my best, not my history with them nor my reactions to their fear and anger at their growing old.

So how do you love more and care less in your life?

 

  1.  As with all wisdom you embrace in life, apply to yourself vs telling others to do so. Offering yourself more love-more kindness, more compassion, more patience, more support, more acceptance – benefits you as well as serves to model and invite others to “want some of what you ordered”. Care less whether you are doing things right, the best, perfectly, are enough, and watch the benefits spill over into your relationships as you judge yourself (and others) less and enjoy your life and the people in them, much more.
  2. Let go of your expectations. Expectations are where you hold yourself, others, and life to desires which often have less to do with reality and more to do with your own inner critic and secret desires. Expectations in a relationship-be it with yourself or another-lead to nowhere happy, wreaking havoc with being present to when and where life offers you opportunities for love, connection, and joy. Too many relationships begun in love end up as power struggles destroying the love.
  3. Realize the lens through which you view the world is not the same lens others are viewing the world through. The story of 3 blind people and an elephant illustrates well this wisdom.3 people blind were asked to describe an elephant and each did so from their experience of holding a different part of the elephant- trunk, leg, and ear. No two descriptions of the elephant were the same and yet all 3 were describing the same elephant. Consider how often you care that you are “right” when the truth is we are all right from what we have experienced. Learn to become more curious and less interested in being right.
  4. Loving more offers more space for curiosity and discovery and less need to care and defend who and what is right. The world of once far-away countries is fast becoming a world of neighbors appearing quite different from us. When we care more about who and what is right and wrong, differences assume greater power. And when we offer love’s gifts of inquiry and curiosity more, we realize more how much our neighbors and have in common with us, be it the desires for our children, for health and happiness in life, having the basic needs met for our family, and a common birthright as human to a life with dignity and respect.
  5. Love is kissing cousins with respect, appreciation, honor and (taking) care is kissing cousins with control, judgement, and assumptions. One of the exercises I often engage in with my clients is clarifying what are truly their values for crafting a life with integrity to their deepest values. I have yet to have a client choose the values of more control, more judgement, more fear and plenty of clients excited about the values of more respect, more honor, more gratitude in their life. Love is the parent of values timeless in their power to inspire, to uplift, to joyfully live a life on purpose.

Loving more and caring less is not a call to not care and only love. It is a call to what holds power and insight in a world whose dynamics and truths are quickly changing from “power over” to “relationship with”. Love’s true nature is less the Hallmark version of sentiment and nostalgia and more akin to Mother Nature-vast, beautiful, powerful, caring beyond reason, and willing to die so life may continue. More and more I realize how critical it is for each one of us to become aware of what we are willing to die for, of what you commit your precious life to. We were born for the times we live in and fear and despair are calling for us to transform them into your devotion to loving…. more.

What’s love got to do with it? Choosing love in the good, bad, and OMG! of our relationships.

Women have long been considered responsible for relationships and while this can feel a bit like responsibility assigned without consent at times, even science is validating women’s innate biology for skills and prowess in relationship. (Check out this article!)  Soooo, if we are the masters of relationship, then it would follow we are all experiencing only happiness in our relationships…not!

Biology alone does not determine how we experience life.  Our beliefs, choices, and our interpretations factor into how we respond to life and people. Believing people are either good when they behave as we want or wrong when they do not, is choosing control as our premium value at the cost of our relationships.

Measuring life-and people-with the yardstick of control leaves little room for the treasures offered by the unexpected in life. Being human is a sacred process,  passion, and purpose, not a product, perfection, nor power over others. “Either-or” thinking may keep our limbic brain happy about not being eaten, but it will not honor our power to choose compassion, to heal history, and to learn more about ourselves and “the other”.

 So the next time you find yourself reacting to the unexpected in someone, consider:

  •  Taking a few deep breaths in and out before saying or doing anything. Deep breathing brings us into our more neutral core and gives time for the less reactive parts of our brain to come on-line in our processing of what is up.
  • Remembering we always have a choice to immediately react or to pause and then respond when people do the unexpected or undesired. Choosing to respond is taking responsibility for our emotions and fears as we are being triggered by another.
  • Being inquisitive about what is being triggered within brings gifts in ways unexpected. While we may believe we know what we need in life, life’s gift of messing with our knowns, shows us the love and beauty the unknown in conflict offers us.
  • Self-love is the foundation of love we offer others and a lack of self-love shows up in judging, blaming, and shaming others. Taking time and care to love our imperfect selves is crucial to being able to love others when imperfect.

Contemporary relationship invites us into a deeper and richer experience of relationship than simply meeting needs and control. Contemporary relationship chooses healing our family and history, tending to our emotional wounds, and happiness over being right.  Tending our heart and honoring the heart of others is the foundation of contemporary relationship…a choice for peace, joy, and happiness for ourselves and our world.