Archive for 'fear'

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.

Drag Queens and The Devil

I’m obsessed with drag queens.  I love them.  RuPaul’s Drag Race is my not-so-guilty pleasure, and To Wong Foo is one of my favorite movies.

From To Wong Foo: Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo and Patrick Swayze embracing their drag selves — and workin it!

Now what could a middle-aged Methodist from a small town who personally prefers Land’s End over Louboutins find in this world of sequins, wigs and general diva-liciousness?  I think it boils down to the flat-out fearlessness of these guys.

Seriously. How can you NOT love someone this fabulous?

Drag Race has showcased some of the backstories on their contestants. Not only have they each had to deal with the challenges of being a gay man, they add another layer by choosing to dress up as women.  Sadly, that’s alienated some of them from their families, gotten them beaten up and frequently made their daily life less than fun.

But  has it stopped them?  Hellllll-to the-no.  These guys embrace their wildly creative visions and put ’em out there in the world with a hip snap and “How ya like me now?” fierceness.  They are role models for overcoming Fear — or at least, not letting it hold them back from being who they want to be.

And this is where The Devil comes in (and no, not in the fundagelical homophobic sense).  Whenever this card comes up in someone’s reading, I remind them that the scary dude pictured is not actually Satan — it’s what he represents, which is fear.  Take a closer look:

He’s huge and scary.  The people beneath him are wearing chains, attached to heavy stones.  They are too terrified to move and think the stones wouldn’t budge anyway.  But wait– check out those chains again.   They’re loose and could easily be taken off.  It’s just that the folks are too freaked out by the Devil’s “ooga booga” hollering above them that they don’t know it.

To me, those stones represent the things that make us feel “stuck” in a bad place.  It frequently comes up with folks dealing with drug, alcohol, gambling, toxic relationships or other unhealthy things, but it also applies to any issue that makes you feel powerless.  The notion of change can be so overwhelming that it’s easier to stay stuck.  That’s the Devil, in your head,  telling you that you’ll fail, its too risky, you’re not good enough, yadda yadda yadda.

One thing I’ve learned is that the IDEA of your worst fear is actually worse than if it actually happens.  I once worried about losing a particular relationship; the thought of him ending it was too painful to even think about.  But when it happened, I had a revelation — I was still alive, it didn’t destroy me after all.  I was still my same bad-assed self –even with mascara running down my face (which a drag queen would never let happen).

So next time you’re facing That Thing That Always Trips You Up, remember the lesson of the drag queens:  put on your sparkly heels, lift off those tacky chains, tell Mr. Satan to kiss your fabulous ass and start walking towards something better.

Chad Michaels — love!