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Archive for August, 2009

“I want to figure out what I’m supposed to do in life!”

A number of my clients come to coaching with this quest. It never fails to arouse my curiosity.

What do you mean by supposed to do?

What would you love (to do)?

That last question gets all kinds of responses from some variant of “I don’t know” to an answer that is quickly discounted with a whole world of blurts that come on the other side of a bridge named “but.”

When we investigate further, we begin to loosen the web of collapses and assumptions which suspends them in a perpetual state of  indecision. In this web are assumptions like: commitment means loss of freedom, work is struggle, play is not work, surrender is giving in, following our bliss is selfish/hedonistic, happiness comes from external circumstances, on and on…(pick your poison).

These clients, like me and maybe like you, long to find their “calling.” They want to feel fulfilled and to find meaning in their lives and they want to be well-used, needed, to be of service in some way. They are intrigued by the notion of following their bliss. At the same time, they want to be certain of their calling before pursuing it. This is usually the giveaway that they have a requirement for controlling the outcome, which is actually expressing some deeper human need for safety, security, belonging, etc.

(c) Kathy J Loh

(c) Kathy J Loh

They are looking for a guarantee that their investment is going to pay off, that magic crystal ball affirmation. This requirement for guarantee can cause no end of procrastination, false starts, disappointment and a great opportunity for the inner critic to belittle and berate.  Any wrinkle in the fabric is gathered for evidence that it’s not a good fit and they were not “meant to do this.”

And what has us imagine we can completely control the outcome anyway?

What kind of dead-end pursuit is that?

How does that assumption constrict possibility and potential?

I understand these things from the inside out, because I’ve experienced (and still do to some extent) the same dilemma. Creative artists can be especially plagued by this, as can healers, adventurers and free spirits.

Do you recognize this in yourself?  If so, consider these questions:

What do you want?

Why do you want that?

What has you believe you need to figure out what it is you are supposed to do?

What if you don’t need to figure it out?

What if there is nothing you are supposed to do and you are actually fully at choice?

What scares you about being fully at choice?

Figuring things out generally happens in the head. Bliss and passion are usually generated from the heart and spirit.

What if you just listened to your heart and spirit and then let your head be the genius planner it is, in service of the heart and spirit?

We are talking trust here. That takes us back to needs. Our needs for safety, security, belonging, etc., are very real. What’s unreal is expecting them to be taken care of by other people or external circumstances. It is this demand we place on others and on things (cars, houses, circumstances) that ensnares us in the trap of needing guarantees to proceed. It leads to procrastination, avoidance and fear of commitment.

We are the only ones who can take care of our own needs.  Only I can create safety, security and belonging for myself. When I do, through loving and nurturing myself, I am much safer (not to mention more fun) to be around. I am not placing that demand on others. I am not trying desperately to control circumstances. I let go of attachment. I also develop a high level of trust in myself.

When I trust myself, I am willing to lean into the Mystery. I can ask God/Goddess for help and know I am met co-creatively. I can follow my bliss without a guarantee, because a guarantee is no longer essential, nor is it even desired anymore. Guarantees leave no room for surprise, imagination, or magic.

When I trust myself, I am willing to be vulnerable and visible in the world. I allow myself to be seen. This is the dance of intimacy. When I am dancing this dance, when I am fully participating in and with life rather than waiting for some magic road to open up and show me the sure highway to happiness, my bliss has an opportunity to find me.

When I follow the call of Spirit and the whispers of Heart, my ever-evolving destiny can see and find me. I am romancing it by believing in it enough to take risks. I am showing I have the courage and the willingness to commit to it, to become a disciple to my soul’s calling.

And yes, the ego experiences a loss of freedom, in a way, when I commit; more on that in my next blog entry.

Until then, give your mind a rest. I’m sure it will thank you. Stop trying to figure out what you are supposed to do. Let your Spirit and Heart speak to you. Suspend judgment for now (which is not to say suspend discernment).

Look within for the needs you are trying to have satisfied for you out there. What are those needs?

And then look deeper. Is there a bottom-line need here that is merely represented by such responses as “I need a job” “I need to know I won’t lose my house” “I need to know he loves me”?

Entertain the possibility that you can meet all of your needs and find a new way of being in the world; one you can hardly even imagine right now; one in which you have come to know that you have value, you are enough, you are loved; one in which you enchant and are enchanted by your destiny, your soul’s calling.

Don’t just flirt with it, romance your destiny, let it fall in love with you, and when it approaches and says “shall we dance?” find the courage and willingness to say, “Yes!”

Copyright (c) August 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

Inspiration and Resources:

For personal coaching: www.coachkathy.com

For a great personal growth workshop series: www.lucidliving.net

For a good read: The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship, David Whyte

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As promised…here is the follow-up to that story about the internal meeting of Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart:

I love Sundays!

On Sunday, I get to begin working with a new Tarot of the Spirit card as part of my 10 Powers lessons with Lightning Spiral Mystery School.

On Sunday, I get to tune into my Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Webinar

On Sunday, I can do whatever I want, even eat waffles.

On Sunday, I think I have this amazing amount of time to do all the things I want to do. I generally end the day wondering what happened. Where did all the time go?

On Saturday, I tackled another several boxes of paper; those boxes I mentioned in a prior post that have followed me around since my divorce several years ago. I’m pretty proud of the progress I made.

I’m pretty proud of the amount of stuff I recycled. I actually tossed magazines that are not the newest issue even if I haven’t read them yet. I have to admit, it made my heart race, but as the paper hit the bottom of the bin I felt a huge sense of en-lighten-ment.

5WindFearTarot

From Tarot of the Spirit Deck by Pamela Eakins PhD and Joyce Eakins MFA
(c) 1992  U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Image used with permission

Sunday morning I did a meditation upon my new Tarot card: 5 of Wind (Fear). In my mind’s eye, I kept seeing the image of one particular file and the title on its tab. Without naming names, I will tell you it holds notes from a teleseminar on a particular method for busting old beliefs.  It’s the perfect example of files I have kept that I never look at again.

In fact, I have so completely integrated the many coaching and healing tools I’ve been exposed to over the years, that I don’t really coach by-the-book anymore. I use or create whatever is needed in whatever way it comes in handy. I mix it up and it’s all improvisational. I actually have a preference for working that way, though my mind keeps thinking I should be more structured and organized. Oh gosh, that’s the story of my life.

In the meditation, I had a conversation about fear with the guardian Wind Brother (part of this Tarot deck). What a great coach he is. Here’s how the dialogue went:

Wind Brother:  What are you afraid of?

Me:  I’m afraid of losing ground. I fought hard to make it on my own and reach the survival level doing work I love. I don’t want to lose the ground I’ve gained. (I saw myself on the face of a cliff. My hands were holding on to the top edge and my feet were resting on a tiny ledge. I was one good hefty pull-up from being on top.)

I’m afraid of losing the clients and creature comforts I have now. I’m afraid of losing all the learning in which I’ve invested time and money; all the learning which I imagine lives in those files.

Wind Brother: What do you want?

Me: I want to be up there on top of the cliff, running free and enjoying life to the fullest. I want creature comforts, yes, and more; freedom, mobility and I want to contribute.

Wind  Brother: Then why don’t you climb on up?

Me: I’m afraid I’ll fall all the way back.

Wind Brother: So what?

Me: I see myself fall and what it means is I will have 2 or fewer clients and empty file drawers and I realize that the fall was about 4 feet down. I also realize that I can’t lose the learning, the experience, the wisdom. I burst into laughter. I laugh so hard that I can’t stop for awhile.

This is a “struggle of the intellect” as Pamela Eakins, PhD writes in the book Tarot of the Spirit. It’s all a big smoke screen. Ooga booga kind of stuff.  I’ve saved the financial padding to take some risks. So, I can’t fool myself that it’s about money. It’s about fear and it’s about pride.

Oy, pride…

So, let’s see…shall I let my fear of losing pride, of backtracking a bit, of falling to the bottom of the cliff and landing in a place of a few clients, a lack of neatly filed folders of information (I mean is this absurd or what?) keep me from following my heart and doing my work in the world?

I think NOT

Heart, I’m listening!

Lift me up Wind Brother!

We’ve got to ask ourselves the “so what?” question. We too often collude with ourselves and others by not questioning the logic, the scary if-I-do-that-then-drama scenario.

No matter how bad it sounds, how horrific a picture you’ve painted, ask yourself “so what?” See where it takes you.

I will tell you what I know about the so-what trail in an upcoming post.

Copyright (c) August 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved


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There’s a technique I like to use whenever I feel stuck or stalled. I interview myself and get the energy moving again by creating an internal board of directors meeting.

Who sits on the board?

Well, it depends on who I wish to assemble at the time.

I draw from my internal “cast of thousands.”

Sometimes, it is a gathering of various iterations of child, adolescent, parent voices along with the inner critic.

One of my favorite, though, is a four way conversation between Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart. Generally, these conversations show me where these aspects are out of alignment and how to bring their energies back into balance.

The other day, I was feeling out of sorts, antsy and I caught myself in a procrastination loop. I knew I had the entire day free to go at those boxes of files again.  I sat with this board in contemplation of the issue, attempting to get some clarity as to which aspect(s) was in resistance and why.  It was quite informative. I’ll share it with you:

The first thing I noticed is that mind was at the “head” of the table. (no pun intended)

After checking in on the energies, I felt into Heart first. Heart appeared with some sort of metal ties wrapped around it. It seemed kind of mopey and said it was tired of Mind running the show.

Mind said something about Heart needing to heal and Heart said it is healed enough and it is Mind that needs to “heal” by dropping all those old patterns of thinking.

Body appeared as a giant banana slug…tired…too tired…Mind tires it out. It wants to follow Heart. Body asks when we are going swimming again.

Spirit came from some distant place to which it had retreated, zipped into the room as dragonfly (a totem for me these days) and landed on the table as Shrek and said “It’s all about fun and adventure.”

Then, I got this image of the three of them (Heart, Body and Spirit) sitting around playing cards all day waiting for Mind to get over itself and get on board with them.

It never fails. When I interview Mind, Mind says it is tired of running the show and would like a little support from the other three. Actually, it likes to show its prowess, but then it gets too high on itself and takes over. So I tried something. I let Mind be held by the other three, as if in a hammock.

I asked: What is it to release to the wisdom of heart, body and spirit?

(c) Kathy J Loh

(c) Kathy J Loh

This question landed on the backdrop of attempting to seriously downsize my possessions and files. When this internal board discusses letting go of all my stuff, Mind goes right back to all the sorting, organizing, what to sell, donate, etc. Why wouldn’t it do that? Mind is a brilliant strategist and calculator.
The other three just sigh and say, “Stop bogging us down!” They tell Mind that it doesn’t have to be done that way. Just get rid of it. It’s stale. C’est passé!

This is where my heart quickened – that familiar cocktail of excitement and fear.

I know I’m at an edge here.

I put heart at the head of the table, not as the boss, but as a way of realigning the weight of the voices. My energetic motor was restarted and I accomplished a good deal of work that day which I’d previously been avoiding.

Here’s what I know. There is a new way for me to be in the world that I am evolving toward. Since it is new, I don’t know what it is. I call it moving into the Great Mystery. I say I am looking to follow The Beauty Way (as the Navajo call it).

I know that it requires a strong internal alliance and alignment of Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart. Each aspect is called forth to its highest strength and my highest purpose is best served by the strength of the team not one or two individual aspects. Each holds a powerful truth. Together, in their alignment, they provide the point of contact between the human me and my soul.

Together, in alignment, Body, Mind, Spirit and Heart resonate with the one-ness from which I feel so separate and help me re-member that unity.

(Tomorrow, a note on what happened the day after I was whirlwind productive at downsizing boxes and files, because this moving into the Great Mystery thing is way bigger than just clearing clutter. I’m only setting the stage with that stuff.)

Meanwhile, try this stuff at home, kids! Many of my clients get great results with this. I’d love to hear what happens for you.

copyright(c) August 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved

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I spent last week at a Lucid Living retreat, “Secrets of Happiness” in beautiful Santa Barbara. We stayed at the Four Seasons Biltmore where the service and attention to detail is impeccable.

On the final morning of my stay, I ordered a room-service double latte. When the knock came, I expected to be handed a simple coffee cup on a saucer right there at the door. (These words conjured up all kinds of funny images when I spoke it to my circle later. My favorite was the image of a medieval prison guard shoving a gourd of gruel through a small opening in a large plank door and then slamming it shut in my face.  It is one of those scarcity scenarios I’m so gifted at imagining.)

Instead, the double latte was delivered on a silver platter adorned with a cloth napkin and accompanied by two biscotti, a shiny silver spoon, two lumps of sugar (white and brown), an assortment of other sweeteners and one stunningly beautiful yellow flower in a white vase.

From my scarcity perspective, I would call this overkill and I would make up how politically incorrect and extravagant the entire scene was, harkening back to my “starving kids in Africa” clean plate days as a child.

From my celebration-of-beauty-and-self, celebration-of-spirit-and-soul perspective, of course I would be served in this way. Not only would I be served, but I would create the same for others. Beauty is our innate being and this service and presentation are a reflection of that.

I carried the tray to my balcony dining table and settled into a feast for the senses; the aroma and taste of hot latte, the clinking of the spoon, the singing and chattering of birds, the verdant beauty of lush grounds and the freshness of the ocean breeze.

I found myself completely and utterly captivated by the gorgeous yellow flower. There it sat in the vase, vibrant and bursting like the sun. It became the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I drank it in, feasted upon it as if starving, as if I’d never get enough. For a moment, it became my entire world.

(c) Kathy J Loh

(c) Kathy J Loh

I saw the flower watching me as I watched it. I saw the flower generously giving of its beauty and in seeing that, I saw my own beauty and felt my desire to give in the same way. I felt the transience of its loveliness and, knowing I’d be checking out in an hour, I felt a great sadness for the brevity of the experience.

This put me directly in touch with my desire to hold on to any and everything that brings me joy and happiness. I was reminded of all the sunsets and the moon risings, the shooting stars and animal sightings that I want to somehow keep forever. This is why I carry my camera and perhaps even why I journal and write. I want to remember it all. I want to remember the love and the beauty.  I want to re-member it; to know oneness and forget my separation.

I thought of the people I love and this life I love. I don’t want them to pass, I don’t want to face growing older or the loss of this incredible gift of life.  I don’t want to know long stretches of time without the people I love in them. The sadness fills my heart and overflows in my tears. I become aware, that it is my willingness to be with this great sadness that brings me in touch with my great desire, passion and love for others, for this life, for the beauty of our planet and our humanity. By feeling this sadness and grief, I increase my capacity to also feel passion and joy. It doesn’t work for me to deny the grief. It only chokes off all my emotions.

While beauty never fades, the forms shift and pass. While love is ever-present, its form shifts and passes. I can’t hold on. I want to possess and I must let go. What I try to possess withers and fades. I trust that what I release comes back to me revealed as ever-present in its being and in my being.

One simple, radiant yellow flower, warming my heart like a new day’s sun, taught me this. What a gift, what service. May I be a willing flower generously revealing my inherent radiance.  May I know within me, such courage and such love.  May we all.

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