Monday, March 18, 2013

Same Circumstances, Different Stories

I couldn't help but pair this post with a picture of the two-pronged carrot we picked
in our backyard this weekend. I bet each of those legs has a different story about growing.
I'm putting my own advice to work this week. My hubby came to visit over the weekend and when I found myself sliding into a fit of sniffles and self pity when he left, I immediately started to examine the story I was reciting in my head.

Changing your story can change your mood in a hot minute. 

Here's how mine seemed to be breaking down:

Story Option #1: My husband is working in Canada for 7+ months. This means I have to take care of two houses, two yards, two cars (we don't want any dead batteries!), incoming mail for two people, some extra outgoing bill payments, and any little disasters that creep up (like clogged sinks and broken light switches). I have to go to bed and wake up alone. I'm solo at social events. I'm sex-deprived and snuggle-starved. We'll be apart on our 2-year anniversary. I miss him every day and we still have four more months to go. Ugh.

Story Option #2: My husband is working in Canada for 7+ months. This means I get to go visit him four times in Vancouver and then see him once for a wedding in Hawaii—then again when his shoot moves to Hawaii! I talk to him throughout each day on Instant Messenger, and we're able to Skype and chat on the phone often. I have more time to focus on my own projects, and if I don't want to shave my legs for a week, no one knows but me! To make up for being apart on the actual day of our anniversary, we enjoyed two special dinner dates together this month. I miss him every day but we only have four more months to go. We're nearly halfway there!

Feel the energetic difference in those two different takes? One makes you pretty much want to lie on the couch with a security blanket and a mojito-filled sippy cup. The other makes you kind of want to high-five me, huh?

There is so much power in focusing on the positive. 

It can literally re-energize you. Both of the stories above are completely true, but when I tell myself option #2, I feel So Much Better. And isn't that what life is about? Feeling good. Feeling joyous. I choose that over the saddies any day.

But, of course, if the saddies creep in, it's important not to ignore them. 

Letting myself shed a few tears yesterday when Mr. W left was what allowed me to focus on my positive story again. I had to move through the sadness before I could get back to the joy. I think a good cry is always a good thing.

But after that cry, I'm always going to lean into the happier ending.

Do you have any two-sided stories swirling in your head right now?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Confessions from a Coach

Every year at the end of December, I write a recap of the year before in my journal and compile a list of resolutions/to-dos for the year ahead. Sometimes they're lofty ideas, like "Write that book you've been thinking about," and other times they're small but fun like "Attend at least 3 concerts or musicals." I don't know when it started, but one year my list reached 35 items. Ever since, I've felt like I needed to match that number.

Well, every year except this one. 

Confession #1: I am a life coach and I don't have a New Year's resolution list. 

I'm sort of shocked that it's March and I still haven't gotten around to writing one. I mostly finished my 2012 recap, and I've written other entries in my journal. But in between the two are a series of blank pages just waiting for me to document my 2013 to-dos.

The funny thing is, I've been knocking chores off a giant invisible list like nobody's business. While my husband is away working on a film shoot, I've been a virtual single-gal-superwoman, painting and decorating and gardening—at our current house in Hollywood and future home in Santa Ynez. I've squeezed in a 5k at LA's Color Run and have tried a couple new restaurants and some new recipes. But none of these were officially premeditated, set-in-stone goals.

Confession #2: I think it's okay if you just have one goal—to live a really joyful life. 

I know most coaches (and most Americans!) believe that setting and accomplishing goals is the key to happiness and fulfillment. But I think when you make happiness and fulfillment (and I mean true happiness and fulfillment; the kind your deepest, most intuitive self desires) your only goal, all the other stuff falls into place. You end up making choices that support your own best interests; you end up challenging yourself; you end up pursuing your passions. You do what feels good to you. And to me, that's what truly matters this year, and this lifetime.

I'm still going to pen out my resolutions for 2013. And maybe throw some on the list that I've already tackled (like painting closet doors), just so I can cross them off. But I'll do it knowing that my ultimate objective is to have a happy, balanced, laughter-filled year.

Confession #3: If I can keep my eyes set on that prize, I think this year may turn out to be the best one yet.