Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Who Wants Ice Cream!?!

I love ice cream.  It's simple.  I love it.  I love the memories it evokes and I love the taste, and the coolness.  There is nothing about ice cream that I do not love. 

Except that I sometimes love it too much.  You see, when I get going on ice cream, there is no stopping me.  If a pint is enough a quart is better.  And let's do it again tomorrow night.

So, when I get the urge for some ice cream, a whole chorus kicks into gear in my head.
  • "Your gut isn't as slim as it used to be."
  • "Just eat some.  You deserve it!"
  • "There is a McDonalds 1.2 miles away.  You can make the stop in less than five minutes.  Just make the decision and get it done!"
  • "Those Hot Fudge Sundae's are tiny.  Go for it!"
  • "What is it you are really wanting right now, Vince?"
  • "Let's invite someone else to go with us and make it a social event!"
  • "You know what happens when you have "just one".  It's a week long binge!  Careful now!"
So, I kind of get this stuff.

There is a part of me that protects me from myself.  Protects me from harm, hurt, vulnerability.
There is a part of me that says "go for it" and "let's connect" with some others along the way.
There is a part of me that wants to step back and assess what it is I really want and make a mature decision.
And, there is a part of me ready to kick into action and get it done.

Which means that it really isn't about the ice cream.  It's about living in a place of ease and flow, managing the competition between the head and the heart, finding my soul.  It's about getting clear on what I want and then acting from a place of maturity.  It's about honoring desires while also managing risk.

Uh oh.  Just spilled some ice cream on the keyboard.



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Remorse, Relief, Risk, and Renewal

"It's excruciating to think about coming clean.  I've been carrying this for so long, beating myself up for what I've done, feeling bad about the impact.  I can't imagine unpacking it." he said.

"I get it.  You've been carrying this for a long time and it feels excruciating to think about unpacking it and coming clean.  What's the real risk?" I asked.

"Clearly that she'll throw me out.  I'm a scumbag."

"Got it.  Your relationship might end.  What else?"

"I don't know.  It seems like it might also be a relief to not carry it."

"Is that a risk, or a possible benefit?"

"Ha!  You got me. That would be a benefit.  To me at least.  Would it be a benefit to her?" he asked with curiosity.

"Now, that's a great question."

Getting something off our chest, letting go of the remorse or guilt that we have carried around some issue or action can bring incredible relief.  AND, it brings risk.  Risk that the relationship might end.  Risk that coming clean with what we've been carrying may result in harm or hurt.  AND, it brings a significant benefit of possible renewal.  The authentic ownership of an issue or action opens the door to the renewal of the relationship both with ourselves and with the other person involved.  But there's a catch.

The thing that has been carried for so long is new information for the other person.  So, while there is relief on the one side, there can be all kinds of emotional responses on the other.  They haven't been living with the remorse, guilt, and fear.  So, your sense of relief can be viewed as a "dump and run."  Some compassion is in order!  And, this is true anytime we speak a courageous truth.  At its best, coming clean creates compassion for ourselves and the other person while promoting authenticity in the relationship.  At its worst, it becomes an emotional dumping ground and an escape from responsibility.

What to do?

Talk about talking about it.  Let the other person know you have something you'd like to unpack that might be difficult.  Ask for permission and create a supportive space.  Unpack the issue with an uninvolved friend or counselor to get your own feet on the ground first.  The pathway to renewal opens up when both parties understand the idea of 100% ownership... both parties take 100% responsibility for their part in the relationship.  What will it look like for you to take 100% responsibility for your part?

And on it goes...


Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Wins

When in doubt on how to respond or handle a situation, I can always land on "How might love win in this moment?"

Shifting my perspective to "Love Wins" opens up my thinking.  It raises my consciousness to a higher level.  It gets me out of any narrow or fear-based thinking and finds solid ground.  It helps me discover the positive intent.

The Supreme Court decision today seems to be doing this for us as a Nation.  The court said Love Wins.

Many years ago I wanted to fire a lifeguard because she insisted on wearing a nose ring.  In a random airplane conversation I shared this incredulous story with the guy next to me.  I was hoping for support and a common battle cry!  But, he challenged my thinking.  He asked if I was generally a loving and merciful person. He challenged me to move to higher ground and see her simply as a person with a different viewpoint.  Her nose ring didn't inflict harm on me.  It didn't mean I had anything less or more.  She kept lifeguarding.  And I learned a good lesson. 

Love wins.

Monday, June 1, 2015

What is it you are committed to?

"It's all the blaming and complaining!"

"Silos.  Everyone just stays in their silo."

"I can't get a straight answer from anyone!!!"

"Wow.  That's some tough stuff," I said.  "What would it look like to take 100% responsibility for the results you are getting?"

"These aren't our results!  This is what everyone else is doing!"

They had stepped into my trap.  You see, I have this crazy belief that whatever results we are getting in life happen to be a reflection of our commitments.  And sometimes, those commitments are unconscious. 

"Here's what I want you to do.  Own these results as something you are committed to."  Blank stares.  For example, say "I am committed to perpetuating the blaming and complaining."

"What?!?" they cried.  "Try it," I said.

Okay, says the VP of Engineering.  "I am committed to the blame game.  I don't like saying that."

"I know," I said.  "Now, read me a few pages out of the training manual you have written for the blame game."

The VP of Engineering grimaced, and said with slumped shoulders, "Well, you tell everyone that it's the corporate office that wouldn't approve the expense.  And then, you be sure the team knows that if marketing had just done their part we wouldn't be getting blamed.  Okay Vince.  I get it.  I hate you."

What did he get?!?  Perhaps, he began to understand how we actually do things that produce the results we are getting in life.  Sometimes the things we do don't make sense, but when we dig deeper we find that the crazy things we do somehow protect us from vulnerability, criticism, exposure or other unpleasant stuff.  So, we do things unconsciously. 

The good news is that once we become conscious of it we can choose a different path.  Unless, we'd rather just blame and complain, that is.



Friday, May 8, 2015

Whose Problem is This?

When I was in college I lived for a year with five guys in one house.  Four of us had dogs.  And, the dogs were not all that well trained.  Imagine that.

Late one night, one of the pups left a present (read:  pooped) in the living room.  One by one, each of us four dog owners came out and said, “Nope, that’s not ____’s” (fill in the blank with our pups name) and proceeded to go back to whatever we were doing.  No one wanted to own the problem.  Finally, the guy that didn’t own a dog cleaned it up I think.

That’s kind of how my body and the western medical world are getting along.  No one wants to own the problem.  They all agree that there is a benign tumor in my head but they can’t agree on who owns the problem. 

There are moments when I lose balance, can’t talk or swallow right, break out in a full body sweat… essentially , come to a ground halt for about fifteen minutes until things re-balance and off I go.  It started this winter early in most every ski day and it continues just about anytime my heart rate goes up or my breathing gets out of whack.  Too much pressure on the right-side jugular vein.
  • Neurosurgeon in the Desert said, “Too many lions and tigers in the tumor’s neighborhood.  Not mine.  Go to UCLA.”
  • UCLA Surgeon #1 said “Nope.  Not a Glomis Jugulare.  You’re not mine.” 
  • UCLA Surgeon #2 said “You might be mine with a Meningioma, but come back when you can’t talk or swallow.” 
  • The Internal Medicine Doc said “It’s not of interest to our office.  That’s the Neurologist’s."
  • Last week the Neurologist said “The tumor hasn’t grown and you’re not dizzy or debilitated enough to go back to UCLA.  I’ll send you to a cardiologist…” 
So, I guess it comes back to me as the owner of this body.  I think I will stick to my previous commitment… choosing to live well… and accept that moments of disorientation and slurred speech are just part of what it means to be me. 



Monday, April 27, 2015

What is Keeping You From Being Fully Present?

The other night I was watching an older movie and it was starting to drag a bit.  I noticed my mind wandering.  My phone was next to me.  I picked it up. 

There was nothing on my phone that needed my attention in that moment (Is there ever?!) but in the micro-second that I began to feel bored with the movie I reached for it.  And then I stopped.  I put it down, and remember having the conscious thought... "I'm going to stay present with this movie and experience it fully, even if it is boring." 

Unless you are completely off the grid, this is a familiar story.  We have become a society with the inability to maintain attention to whatever is before us.  Attention Deficit at the grandest level.

So the question, "What's keeping me from being fully present?" is a way I can name whatever is happening ("I'm feeling angry that this movie isn't entertaining me fully") and help myself choose to get back to wherever I am.

Pass the popcorn, please...

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What are you Tolerating?

All of us put up with stuff.  Little annoyances.  Things that are broken and have been broken for a long time.

This year, one of my focus areas is to "eliminate tolerations" from my life.  Those things that I put up with, annoyances, stuff that drains energy, or that I accept as "it is what it is" when I don't really need to.

For four years, the flashing on the dishwasher has fallen off anytime anyone sweeps. It's annoying.  A missing screw on one side and a missing washer on the other.  Anytime the floor was swept, the flashing would fall down with a clank and it would have to be propped back up.  Until the next time.  What a pain!  And today, I fixed it.  A ten-step trip to the garage to find a new screw and washer, five minutes to vacuum out all the gunk behind it, and a minute to put the screws back in.  Done.

Am I the only person who puts up with this kind of stuff?

For as long as I can remember, I have had these two bumps right on the top of my head.  Anytime I hit my head, they take it.  And, they hurt.  And, I'm 6'2" and hit my head a fair amount.  And, every new hair stylist has to run into them at least once before learning to steer clear.  You could only see them when my hair was cut short and they were annoying.  Until yesterday.

I had them removed.  The Doc put me under, froze the little suckers, cut away the skin, sucked them out, stretched the skin back over (felt a bit like what I imagine a face lift feels like!), stitched it up, and voila!  No more bumps. 

I feel lighter, joyful, and more at ease, just knowing the bumps are gone.... and the dishwasher flashing will never fall off again.

I love reclaiming energy in my life!  So, what are you tolerating?



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What have you Done For You Lately?

Since launching off on my own intentional pursuit of well being a few years ago it seems as if the world has jumped on the same bandwagon.  Ariana Huffington (founder of the Huffington Post) has weighed in with her latest book, "Thrive", and, Outside Magazine this month offered up "27 simple habits guaranteed to improve your body and mind."   

So, the question is... "What have you done today (or yesterday, or in the last week) to support your sense of well-being?"

We can easily jump to "I brushed my teeth and that's good for me" and perhaps get some well-being credit.  But, better to think about the things that we do in an intentional and purposeful way because we've thought about it and made the choice that says, "Yes, I believe doing this will enhance my well being!"  Might be physical well-being, social, spiritual, mental... you get the idea!

Things I've heard lately...

   ...Took a walk in an area that wasn't familiar to me.
   ...Started teaching myself guitar using online videos.
   ...Made a ski weekend happen with a college buddy.
   ...Had an intentional conversation with my wife about something more than "the schedule."
   ...Read a book for pleasure.
   ...Made three crock pot dinners that I've never made before.

It's motivating and inspiring to hear about the things people are doing on purpose and simply because it makes life more interesting and enjoyable.

So... your answer?



Sunday, January 18, 2015

HELP!!! Getting back on Track

There were about 15 people in the room having a thoughtful and engaging discussion about their future.  They were playing with vision and desire, and what it is they wanted to create.  I love this stuff!  (And, I was not facilitating!!!)

But then... things started to get hot.  Someone interrupted someone else.  Someone's voice got a little louder.  Three people started to talk at once.  The moderator began to lose it.

And then... someone said in no uncertain way, "freeze!"

What was this? And then, he said it again.  "Freeze.  And breathe.  I'm calling a time out."  And he just sat there.  No words.  It was powerful.  And everyone stopped in their tracks.  (It turns out, this was a norm they had agreed to previously.  Note to self...)

And once everyone had found their breath again, taken a step back, gotten their own feet back underneath their own selves, he asked a couple of AWESOME questions:

Are we on track right now?
What would be helpful?
The questions really didn't need to be answered.  The answers were self-evident.  In less than a minute, the group as a whole had their feet underneath them, figured out how to continue the discussions, and moved on. 
It reminded me of how important it is to know how to get back on track... to get myself back on track, and to perhaps help another as well.    Want to pack another tool in your kit?  Download the one-pager... "Getting Back On Track".



Am I Listening?

A while back, someone said to me, “Wow, Vince, you’re such a good listener!”  It made me wonder what it’s like to be a bad listener!  So, I ...