It’s a classic dilemma: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Have you ever gotten an answer that makes any sense?
I find the same complexity in the question: how do I let things go? People talk all the time about letting go of emotions and things that no longer serve you, but can it really be that simple? Especially when you feel wronged or someone has hurt you?
Letting go of strong emotions, or the need to be right (of course, I’m right and you’re wrong!) in a particular situation, can feel like trying to move a 1,000-ton boulder out of the road so you can pass!
Now, keeping with the boulder scenario for just a moment, imagine it represents that thing, event, or emotion that you are holding onto. What would your life be like if you couldn’t move that boulder out of your way?
I will tell you that some people carry that invisible boulder on their shoulders, no matter how hunched over they get. They unwittingly create future experiences with that boulder in tow and allow the shadow of this great boulder to shade the brightness of new opportunities. They compensate. Compensating looks like settling for less than who you are and pretending that you're not. The worst part of it is that you are not being honest and authentic with you. Continue on this road too long and you can lose your zest for being who you were meant to be.
Others stay stuck in time. They try to roll it, move it, hoist it, and push and push against the boulder that won’t budge. And out of sheer exhaustion, they give up and sit down beside it, never moving forward.
So, what are you carrying, holding, pushing up against that needs to be let go of? Could you choose another way?
I like to enlist the power of my imagination when I am stuck in a situation and feel as though I don’t have the power (even though I really do!) to stop thinking, believing, or buying into something that isn’t serving me.
Here are some quick tips on how to remove (or shift) that boulder from your life:
1. Say Good-bye
Is the boulder (emotion, event, thought) serving you? Here’s how to find out: Close your eyes and think the thought or feel the emotion. If it feels heavy (sadness, shortness of breath, constricting) then it isn’t serving you. If it feels light (free), then perhaps you have learned all you need to learn from the situation, and now it’s time to give yourself permission to fully (and ceremonially) say good-bye.
If it is too hard to fully let go or you feel that if you do let go that you will be losing a part of your identity, ask yourself, “Am I willing to shift or morph the feeling, situation or event?” This means finding something positive or something you have gained from the boulder’s existence. Once you’ve found that, it’s time to change the landscape of the boulder. Using your imagination, perhaps you could plant some flowers around the boulder or paint a mural on it (it’s your imagination and your boulder, so have fun with it!).
If you are really ready to let go of the emotion, event or thought that is no longer serving you, you can:
After a busy weekend of family activities, I sat down with my DVR to catch up on several of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday episodes that were calling me forward! So I started with the most recent; an interview with legendary NBA coach, Phil Jackson. He has played for the New York Knicks and has coached the Chicago Bulls and the LA Lakers, which included basketball greats such as Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
What I didn’t know was that Phil Jackson is known as the Zen Master. I was fascinated as I listened to him talk about the many spiritual practices that he incorporated in his NBA coaching; tai chi, meditation, visualization and yoga. Of all the practices that “stuck” with the teams, it was meditation. He said it was the ability to “come back to center” that made the difference – in the game on the court and in the game of life. Phil spoke of the greater connection, which was love, and how if everyone operated from that same shared energy on the team, that success was imminent. What really struck me was how he described his relationship with Michael Jordan. Asked how he dealt with the giant-ness of Michael Jordan’s image at the time, he said he didn’t play into it. He looked beyond the outer persona and through to where they were both the same. This kept their relationship grounded. And because of the “bigness” of Michael Jordan – from a performance perspective – Phil said he often asked him to stand down or hold back to allow others on the team to rise higher to their individual greatness.
I felt inspired and refreshed after watching the interview and thought how brave and authentic it was of him to openly profess his “game plan” that included strategy and spirituality.
Spirituality is the invisible thread that connects us all, no matter who we are, where we live or what we do for a living. My experience in the corporate world was anything but spiritual – some of the time. It takes deliberate and mindful action to infuse an environment with the greatest part of ourselves.
Here are some ideas to help bring the outer world (strategy, goals, tactics) and inner world (woowoo) in harmony for success:
- Intend: Infuse your goals with intention. Intention is the juice that the goal marinates in and makes it come alive. It is the why – the deep down why – of anything you desire. Begin starting meetings with a group intention. Doing so helps everyone get on the same page and feel a part of creating something together.
- Lead: Where in your life can you allow your “bigness” to move aside, so that others on your team (business or home) can step fully into their bigness? This is what great leaders know how to do.
- Center: Practice becoming centered several times a day. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly. Do this several times. Notice your body relax and your mind become clear. Sometimes to help me, I imagine a giant white, plush chair in the center of my being. When I begin to relax with my breath, I sink down into this chair and rest. Now you have a visual that you can use to instantly bring you back to calm.
- Tap: While tapping is great for removing stress and negative emotion, you can also use it to boost positive outcomes. For example: while thinking about the desired outcome of a meeting, tap, on the points (see tapping points at www.paulagrosario.com) while saying:
This meeting will result in a positive outcome for all involved.
I am confident and calm.
I am flexible, resourceful and wise.
My mind and heart are open.
All will be well and agreed upon for the best outcome for all involved.
All is well.
I am open and resourceful.
Knowledge and calmness are easily accessed.
Here’s to the success of woowoo strategies!
Make Love...Not War!
The debate of working moms vs. stay-at-home moms is yet again rearing its ugly head. On Fox News, in the New York Times and many other news outlets, she vs. she is once again the hot topic. It may be surprising to some, but credible research already supports the fact that children of working moms are not at a disadvantage amongst their peers whose moms stay at home. So why more controversy and concern?
First, motherhood IS work. Period. It is the hardest, yet the most rewarding “job” on the planet. Secondly, isn’t it amazing that women actually get to choose? I suppose certain life circumstances may not feel like an actual choice. But whatever the path -- staying at home, working at home, working part-time, working outside the home – women are all a part of the same sisterhood, and as such shouldn’t we be there supporting one another? Each time there is a debate – and debates bring up all different points-of-view and ways of looking at things – hopefully, our eyes are opened wider, and we see progress, support and understanding.
For the record, I believe I am a better mom because I have worked. I have worked all of my adult life. Were there times when I thought I couldn’t bear another day of commuting and office politics? Absolutely. For instance, when my son was 4 and he had several emergency hospital stays resulting in his diagnosis of a chronic kidney condition, I wanted nothing more than to just be by his side – and I did.
Coincidentally (ah, yes, there’s no such thing as coincidences!), when the most challenging time in my life was unfolding, I had also been promoted to Vice President – the thing I had worked to achieve my entire career. But it paled in comparison to what was happening in my personal life at the time. I remember thinking how insignificant it felt after I had placed so much importance on it.
I’m not downplaying the achievement – for a kid from Brooklyn who didn’t go to college, this was the cherry on the cake! But compared to what my baby was going through, it was nothing.
This taught me 2 things:
1. Things and circumstances only hold the specific value we give them.
2. My self-identity was complex and a dichotomy of feelings.
This was an example of extremes, but there are professional women who feel this tug-of-war every single day. Our families are pulling us on one end, and our career is pulling us on the other. It’s easy to get lost in between both worlds, feel isolated, and that we aren’t doing a good enough job at work or at home.
Instead of trying to put “women back where they belong” as has been suggested in the news recently, perhaps it is a rally call instead. A call for all women – no matter their choice or circumstance to join a circle of solitude where there is plenty of room for individual choice and support. A call for corporate America to establish more policies that uplift professional moms (and dads too), so they feel empowered and good about their decisions.
I believe the day is coming. We – collectively – can make it happen, so that our daughters and sons will see a future of greater shared responsibility, love and respect.
The Yin & Yang Of Opposites Day!
When my son was in day care, there was always a robust calendar of events to make each day special and fun. There was Crazy Hats Day and Pajama Day and Inside Out Day and Dress Like Your Favorite Animal Day. But the day that was the most fun (and interesting) was Opposites Day! On Opposites Day, you would try to talk in opposites. For example, if you wanted to go outside, you would say, “I want to stay inside,” but then go outside anyway! It was hilarious because invariably we would start this first thing in the morning with breakfast (I was glad I didn’t have to talk in opposites at the office!), and then it would continue at the end of the day. When you get the hang of it, it is quite interesting to see what happens.
I was reminded of Opposites Day recently when I was standing in line at a store and overheard someone say, “Well, you can’t have it all, you know!” That hit me between the eyes. Wow. And it was one of those days when I already felt like I was surrounded by a lot of negative chatter. I found it to be very irritating and then realized that I was allowing myself to get pulled down in the muck. I had a choice. I could get out of the line and leave the store (nope, I really needed my groceries!), or I could try something different. Opposites Day!
I allowed myself to play with the idea of “what if I CAN have it all?” So, I went into my own imagination of what it would be like to “have it all” …. and love it! The line I was waiting on seemed to move more quickly, and I was no longer bothered by the pesky conversation. This was a deceptively silly game with powerful results! It shifted my attitude, whereas before I was allowing others to pollute my energy field.
So, what are some of “those” statements that seem to easily roll off the tongue that perhaps you’ve carried around for years and don’t really know where they came from?
We may have heard them in childhood from family members, in school, the news, etc. Here are some common statements that could use a little opposites attraction:
Money doesn’t grow on trees.
You have to work hard to get ahead.
Rich people have no morals.
Don’t let your true feelings show.
You should put others first.
I have to admit that writing them made my breath feel constricted, and my personal energy just felt yucky. Did you feel the same way when reading them? If so, where did you feel it in your body?
Action: Stop. Take two conscious breaths. Read each statement above, and this time really pay attention to where in your body you may be getting a signal. Maybe it is your breath. Or maybe it is a knot in your stomach. Or maybe you begin to sweat. Our bodies are like radio receivers giving us signals on how to read our emotions and make new choices after considering the information we are receiving.
Action: Stop. Take two conscious breaths. Now read each of these statements below and pay attention to where you feel a reaction in your body. Hint: Suspend the urge to have these statements “make sense,” and instead use your childlike imagination and belief. If this seems impossible, continue to tap on your collar bone point (just where the collar bone starts at the center of your throat), while reading.
Money really does grow on trees.
Doing what brings me joy for a living is easy, and I am successful.
Rich people have the resources and support worthy causes.
It is safe for me to express my truest self.
I pay attention to what makes me thrive so I can give wholeheartedly to others.
Have fun playing with The Yin & Yang Of Opposites Day! I’d love to hear from you about your experiences!
This is my son and his 6th grade castle project! This was a labor of love (well, sort of) and it definitely took a village. The project was a part of his social studies review of Mediaeval Times. Each child made their own interpretation. It was truly amazing to see all the different castles that had been created. Some were made of styrofoam, others printed out brick patterned paper and glued to the exterior of a cardboard box, and a particularly crafty child used hair gel atop blue paper to simulate the water around the castle moat.
What I appreciated the most about this project was that it was not a competition. There was no judging of whose castle was bigger or better than the next. Rather each child had the opportunity to express their individual vision (with a little help, of course) and have it come to life.
So it left me with a question that I’d like to ask you:
How uniquely you would you show up in the world if you knew you would not be judged?
Ask yourself this question as you pick out clothes and you ready for your day. Or when you have the opportunity to speak up in a meeting but then hold back.
How uniquely you are you willing to show up today?
Paula G. Rosario
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