Archive for 'fear of change'

The Real Trick to Changing Your Life

I met a woman –call her “L”  — in January.  First-time client.  This woman’s back story was pretty amazing: horrible childhood,  husband dies on their 7th anniversary leaving two little boys to raise alone.  So she was training to be an electrician in a decidedly macho business; in fact, she was just promoted to an especially challenging specialty. On top of that, she just wrote a book about her experience stepping into that world.

She is pretty much THIS woman...

She is pretty much THIS woman…

Total badass, right?  But her weak spot was the guy who was living with her.  We’ll call him “R.”  This guy was a cheater and a slob; he spent most of his waking hours putting her down, calling her names.  That was when he wasn’t eating Cheetos on the couch (and wiping his hands on the cushions, probably). He took her money.  He ran around.  The guy was a walking  old-timey blues song and you would wonder why anyone would put up with his sorry ass.  But she did.  It happens.

No surprise that “L” was frustrated and mad with herself.  She knew he was a bonehead. She knew she had put up with this for too long, but she worried about making it financially if he were out of the picture.  She wondered if she’d ever find anyone else.  You’ve heard this story before.

Cut to this afternoon, a few months after our first meeting.  “R” is still in the picture — but not for long.  “L” has been quietly making some plans.  She rented a storage unit to stash her precious items (in case he decided to mess with her — ’cause that’s the kind of tool he is).  She secretly opened up her own credit cards and took a loan against her 401K to give her a cushion.  And, on her way to my office, had hit the Home Depot for a new set of locks.  Bah-ZING!

Don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!

Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!

The funny thing is, “R” seems to know something’s up.  And he’s trying to be all nice again — because clearly, his usual m.o. of being a jerk is not having the expected effect of putting her in line.  “L” is still a little freaked out over the change that’s coming — but she keeps moving forward.  No wonder THIS  card came up for her:

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The Moon is about being spooked by uncertainty.  The Moon’s light is deceptive; even on the brightest night, you can’t be quite sure what that is in front of you. Vicious dogs are a-barkin’, creepy things are crawling out of the mud, ready to slime you.   You just want to curl up with the blanket over your head.  It’s a game of Blind Man’s Bluff, where you feel around in the dark, not knowing what you’re about to bump up against. Frustrating. Terrifying.

However, moving forward is what we must do.  And even the smallest effort counts.  It’s the fact that you’re trying in the face of uncertainty that’s the point of this card.  That’s where greatness starts; its Edison’s final push for the light bulb, the last record company visited by the Beatles.  And you won’t BELIEVE how fast the successes and “whoa, where’d THAT come from?”s start piling up on the back of those little moves.

I was so proud of “L”s eensy steps towards a life free from the janky vibe of “R.”   She’s scared, no doubt.  But she’s walking through the uncertain light of the Moon.  She may be crawling on her hands and knees sometimes – but  she’s moving.  Before she knows it, the sun will rise, showing that she’s farther down the road than ever expected.

That’s your word of the day, children: “try.”   And here’s your assignment:  think of something in your life that just ain’t working.  You’re putting up with a job you no longer like, a person you no longer love,  the 15 extra pounds, anything you know you need to change but just can’t.

Now, take a few deep breaths and sit quietly with a pen and pad.  What are the three smallest things you can do to start to change that situation today?  No big moves to overwhelm you, just little baby steps.

Here’s an example.  Let’s say your job is played out.  You’re just grinding it out, day by day, knowing that you want something else, but it’s just too damn hard to consider leaving it.   If this were me (and it was, at one point), here are my three baby steps:

1) Google a few job sites and just poke around for 15 minutes.

2) Write down three people to talk to about  possible opportunities (notice, I’m just writing them down, not actually contacting them at this point)

3) Pull up the resume’ and give it a quick once-over.  Again, we’re not making any actual changes to it. just initiating some energy.

I think you’ll find  that the act of doing something, anything builds momentum towards change. You take another tiny step…and another…and another. So have at it, and let the light of the Moon lead you forward into your dream life!

Tell me how you’re gonna do it in the comments below.  (And if you like what you read, share it!)

Beating the Fear Monster

I’ve been thinking a lot about Fear.   I’m going through some things right now that have me living with a sense of worry, pretty much all the time. That’s what moving forward will do to you.

The wise ones tell us to remember that we are safe at all times, that we are bigger than our worries.  Yeah, OK.  Thanks for that.

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The Attack of the Heebie Jeebies….

Fear shows up in so many ways, doesn’t it?  Worry, anxiety, anger, bitchiness.  All of those stem from a place of not feeling safe.  Example:  look at the downright nasty nature of politics these days.  If you really drill down, it strikes me that all that heat comes from fear of a changing world.  We like things settled, predictable.  When that goes away — or appears that it might– watch out.

So how do we get to that place of feeling serene when all we want to do is dive face down into the biggest martini we can find?  Breathing helps, both on a physical and spiritual level.  The act of consciously breathing releases tension in our body and gives our mind something else to focus on.

I also think that anxiety and worry are the Universe’s way of letting us know that we need to make a change.  Something isn’t working. This particular Tarot card illustrates that awful wide-awake-at-3-in-the-morning feeling…

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Of course, when you discover the answer, making that change brings its own kind of freak-out potential.  Change is not something anyone really likes; look how long the evolutionary process took–  millions of years for us to just stop walking on our knuckles.  But getting up off our knuckles is necessary.

When the Nine of Swords comes up in a reading, I tell my client that worry is counter-productive and that they need to shrink that sense of overwhelm with action.  One small, bite-sized step at a time gives us a sense of control over the situation.  Action is the antidote to Fear– whether its making a plan to get out of a bad situation, or the physical kind that sweats it out of you.

So I’m trying to look at Fear through a different lens, as an indicator that I am making an important change. I’m not thrilled at it riding shotgun on this journey — but with some deep breaths, an action plan and a giant martini, maybe the trip won’t be so bad.

Back-To-School….and Fearless

My great-niece, Ella Ruby, starts 2nd grade today.  She is totally chuffed, excited about her new teacher, backpack and classroom.  She doesn’t care that she knows nothing about 2nd grade math– she just plans to tackle it and get as many gold stars as she can grab.

Ah, for the days of spitballs and forgetting your locker combination….

There’s something wonderful about a 7 year old’s complete lack of fear.  For the most part, everything new is an adventure.  Their little egos are practically non-existent, so they don’t even think about how it will look if they fail.  They just want to try the New Thing.

This is where the 8 of Pentacles comes in.  While I don’t play favorites with the Tarot cards, I admit that I love when this one comes up.  The message is an encouraging one — it means that whatever you’re faced with, even if you know zilch about it, you’re gonna totally dominate.  The card is nicknamed “the talent card,” revealing hidden abilities.

Most of the time when it appears in a spread, my client has a hard time believing that they’ll be able to pull off whatever that hidden ability may be (“I don’t know ‘nuthin’ ’bout Excel spreadsheets…”).  I remind them of one of my favorite quotes from Teddy Roosevelt: “When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

Can’t argue with a guy sporting such a fierce ‘stache…

A few months back, I got a call at 4:30 PM inviting me to do some copywriting for a start-up tech firm.  There was a conference call less than an hour later — and in that time, I had to Google the firm, download Skype and learn how to use it, and give myself a crash-course in tweeting. I was able to fake my way through the call, and landed a nice gig.

Second-graders like my niece embrace learning — it’s what they do.  Somewhere after graduating, we grownups decided our days of learning were pretty much over.  New things freak us out, make us feel uncertain.  But taking the challenge posed by the 8 of Pentacles is always a good exercise in reaching a little further towards our full potential.  Whether we succeed or fail at it, we still get a gold star for trying.