What art tells us about life

I frequently use art as a metaphor for living life wisely and well. There’s The Art of Living, an exploration of how we are designed to live creatively and joyfully and the potential for waking up every day like children eager to paint on walls and splash in mud puddles. (Imagine!) There’s the Reboot Your Life Creative Immersion Retreat I’m doing with my friend, Cherie Ray, at the end of the year. For over 20 years I’ve been coaching people to be visionary (even revolutionary) and effective, whether they are corporate executives, music teachers, or boat builders. In every field, the fundamentals are the same.

The questions we ask ourselves to help us live wisely and well invite different answers when we ask them as if we were making art. When we realize that human beings are inherently creative it just makes sense to lean into this way of thinking about our challenges and opportunities.


On the perils of dismantling your compass

Synopsis: Every human being has a built-in compass or GPS. Sometimes we don’t like what it says (or doesn’t say), so we start taking it apart. Here’s why that’s neither necessary nor a good idea.

Have you ever looked to your inner compass and come up empty? 

And then, perhaps, you went to work on yourself, trying to get clarity, looking for answers, doing your best to figure out out what’s wrong with you that keeps you from finding your way?

Maybe you were (or are) looking for more purpose, or thinking you need to develop something in your business, or that you need to get back to dating, or have a difficult conversation with a partner, or a spouse? It could be something that you’ve been tying to get yourself to do but failing, like running, keeping your desk clean, painting, tracking your expenses, or eating differently.

Perhaps you sense on some level that the way forward is going to come from the inside. But when you look inside, you’re not getting any help, at least that’s how it seems. And so, again, you keep looking for answers. What’s wrong with my internal GPS? What’s wrong with me that I’m not getting the guidance I need? That I don’t have clarity?

The image of navigating through a dense fog with a compass showed up as I was working with clients on this frustration. There’s enough light, enough clarity, to see the compass. And you have a decent sense of what direction you want to go. For example, you want to go north, and the compass reliably points to north.

But  you don’t like the compass reading, so you ignore or override it, and you get lost.

And let’s imagine at that point you take your compass apart. You shake it, maybe pry off the cover, fiddle it with it, then put it back together. If you’re lucky you haven’t broken it. It still points to north.

Taking the compass apart doesn’t help. At best, the compass will continue to point in the same direction. At worst, you break the compass.

Analyzing ourselves when we’re not getting the answers we think we want from our internal compass is like taking the compass apart. It isn’t going to help. Sometimes the clarity you seek is actually there, it just doesn’t match your preconception of the clarity you want or expect.

Sometimes, it seems it’s just not time to move forward on a project, and you can look to your inner compass until hell freezes over, and you’re still not going to get insights into how to move forward. Instead, you’re going to get insights into staying still, or doing something else, which is maddening. So you shake the compass, you take it apart, you blow on the needle, but nothing happens!

And then one day, it all looks different. Did the compass change? Probably not. But somehow your own state of mind, your own level of awareness, shifted enough that you could see the intelligence, the perfection, and the information you had all along.

I’m curious what you make of this. As always this is just a metaphor, it’s a pointer to the way we work. It’s not an injunction to believe what I say, it’s an invitation to get curious about what’s going on when you’re not getting the answers you think you want? Could it be that your compass is working just fine, and that for a moment you’ve forgotten to trust that perfectly reliable needle that’s pointing to the north? Let me know what you find!

How to rock the game of life

This video is a bit longer than usual. It’s all about the freedom we have to make up whatever game we choose to play in life from what matters to what we create to how we keep score. We can’t control the outcomes, but we have infinite choice over the inputs. When we shift our focus from outcomes to inputs, we see that rocking the game of life is more like making art than it is about winning races. Along the way I touch on choosing to work on a gift basis and marrying The Charming Prince. I enjoyed sharing this ride with you, and I hope it leaves you with a good feeling for how much freedom, possibility, and joy are available to you. ♥

An invitation to a different conversation about wealth

Charge Money for What You LoveFor several years I chafed against conventional thinking about pricing my services. I began to experiment with Pay What You Choose pricing for coaching, but I still wasn’t quite satisfied with where I had landed. A few months ago I shared my interest in the gift economy in a Facebook Group, and another member introduced me to Nicole Huguenin. Nicole graciously agreed to a Skype conversation, and we connected immediately. I was blown away by her insight into the wealth of possibilities available to us when we free our minds to think in new ways about business, money, value, and equity. I knew at once that I wanted to have her as a guest on the Wholeness Hangout.
After growing up in the boon of Silicon Valley and spending 15 years in the education sector, Nicole found it rather financially expensive and emotionally costly to do good work. After a hard stop and move across country she began to ask different questions of herself and communities. Questions such as:
  • What are my gifts?
  • How do I value them and how does society value them?
  • Can we all be rich?
  • Is it possible for all our needs be taken care of?

On Thursday, June 1, Nicole will be joining me for a special Wholeness Hangout, a free Zoom videoconference, to explore these and other questions. I hope you can join us. Click here for details and please spread the word.

If you’d like to see how I’m approaching pricing now, I describe it briefly on my coaching page.

What if it’s perfect? You, your life, the whole thing…

Timothy Gallwey, author of The Inner Game of Tennis, has said that life is a perfectly designed workshop. The part I didn’t realize when I heard that, and which I see know, is that each of us is also perfectly designed for our lives. There is no test we need to pass. Nothing to prove.

I’m still experiencing a bit of brain fog post-surgery*, so I made this a very short video. I invite you to watch it to catch the feeling, and then to play with what shows up for you. Do let me know what you see!

*On April 11th I had surgery to complete breast reconstruction following my mastectomy in 2015. If you are curious about it, you are welcome to visit my CaringBridge journal. Everything’s going swimmingly. 🙂

Just say YES

The end of one year and beginning of another is often a time of reflection and goal setting. We look back at the year and assess ourselves and our accomplishments, and we look ahead and consider what we want to create or achieve. We may consider what qualities we want to cultivate, what values we want to express, and what we would like to have to show at the end of the year for our efforts.

This reflection and intention setting can be immensely valuable, yet it can also be a trap. We can fall under the spell of self-importance.

This spell may cast a shadow, and in that shadow it will seem that you are not now and never will be enough.

Or it may create a glow so bright that you are impelled to dream up ever bigger, brighter goals without noticing that you are losing touch with your heart.

Whether the spell tricks you into playing small or playing huge, it distracts you from an inner spark, which wants only one thing: that you say yes to life.

Saying yes will sometimes lead to small things and sometimes to large. Wherever it leads, the value of what you are up to in the year ahead will not be determined by the size or scope or apparent importance of your activities. It will be determined by the quality of your YES.

In the weeks and months ahead, I wish you time and space to discover and nurture that spark. To experiment with saying YES in matters large and small.

Because your YES matters, and you are the only one who can utter it.

Is your work is calling…

…but somehow the call isn’t turning into action?

Sometimes you feel the call to show up for your work or business this year, but you aren’t quite sure how to do it. Whether it’s not being clear about what to do or not quite having the confidence to put your choices into action, you need a little help.

The Come Alive and Do the Thing! Mastermind group is designed to help you pick up the phone already.

It’s about answering the call in big and little ways, day in and day out.

It’s about finding your way–the way that really works for who you are and how you want to be–without hype, adrenaline, or pressure.

Come Alive & Do the Thing! will help you tap into your own wisdom and common sense to do what needs to be done. It’s about saying YES to your life and work.

We start January 18. Won’t you join us? ​​​​​​​Click here to learn more about Come Alive & Do the Thing!

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