Stacey Castor Life Coach

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judgements, voices, and choices

Posted on June 13, 2017 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)



One of the concepts I understood twenty some years ago is that people who judge others are also judging themselves. Harshly. It first came up in my consciousness with a student, then a patient, and then, of course, internally because that’s just how the Universe works. The rub is that even when we get a concept cognitively we can’t necessarily transfer that shit to our hearts, because knowing isn’t doing. Awareness isn’t ownership. Thinking isn’t being. Maybe because it’s too painful, or too much work, or the tools to do so evade us. I don’t know, but one thing I am clear on is that most of us are struggling with some form of this issue. So over the last few decades I have revisited this subject both personally and professionally, oh I don’t know, about a million damn times.


Lately every conversation I have with a friend or client invariably turns to their internal dialogue berating them and telling them in one way or another that they are unworthy. And not just unworthy-ish, unworthy as hell. And you know what? I’m not ok with this. I’m not ok with people I love or care about, or even strangers and people I disagree with, talking themselves out of owning the fact that they are worthy as hell of every damn thing they desire. So let’s look at this bad-mouthing voice to whom everyone seems to give so much credit. Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” And fears source from that internal dialogue, so let’s silence this beast once and for all, shall we?


First and foremost hear and understand that this voice you hear chattering at you all day is not your voice. It is a recording of everything that you’ve ever been told. Second, it doesn’t tell the truth. Like ever. If you listen closely you will see that it regrets and rehashes the past, worries and frets over the future, and criticizes you and others. Thirdly, it antagonizes, stirs the pot, picks fights, insults, and berates. Would you listen to a friend that consistently talked to you like that? Would you want to have the same conversations day in and day out with said friend? Yeah, my point exactly. And yet, studies show that up to 90% of your thoughts on any given day are the same thoughts as the days before. So clearly this is exactly what we’re doing!


So if this internal dialogue isn’t you, where the hell is your true, authentic voice, and why is it so difficult to hear? It’s there inside you, listening and watching. Quiet but not silent. Soft but infinitely powerful. But unlike the noisy chatter of your programming, you have to get still and turn inward to hear it. You must tune into the nuances of how it communicates, through feelings, desires, and intuition. You must, after all these decades, send the message that you are ready to listen. Really listen. And you do this by making it a priority. You do this by telling your chatter that you will be placing your attention elsewhere. You do this by watching and witnessing your thoughts and then choosing them the same way you choose what to wear from your closet, or what to eat from a menu. You choose again and again and again. And then you choose again. This is how it works loves. There are no short cuts. There is no magic potion. There is no formula to make it easy. You do it. And then you do it again.

Reprogramming your brain, which is what you will be doing, is not easy. And when you don’t immediately succeed, guess what? Your chatter will simply add this to the list of reasons you are not worthy. So what? Shine the light of awareness on your hateful chatter and say, “I see you. I see you for what you are.” And then, easily and without resistance to the chatter, turn towards better feeling thoughts. Turn towards better feelings. Genuinely ask what would make you feel better in this moment and then indulge yourself. You do not have to be a victim to the programming that others equipped you with, nor do you have to navigate your life by it. So choose. Choose today to stop judging. Choose to stop listening to the chatter. Choose consciously. Choose with love. And then tomorrow? Choose again dear one.





be very you

Posted on October 30, 2016 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)



I saw a post the other day where Jaden Smith (as in Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s son), was talking about community, giving back, and small decisions that result in a big impact, among other things. He was articulate and informed and I felt moved. I felt moved the way I often do when young people talk with purpose and passion. And as I got to the end of the article I couldn’t help but notice the first comment--I know, I know. Never read the comments. But I did. And this person commented that what he was saying was worthwhile, but could he be less, well less Jaden Smith about it. I read the sentence twice. Three times.


 

Well, there it is. Our inability to observe and witness others in all their them-ness with awe and wonder and appreciation. Oh we think they are wonderful, but… Well of course he has a point, but… Could she just be a little less…. Why is that? Why is it that when individuality fully blossoms we cringe and become uncomfortable and wish it was just a little less than whatever it is? Why can we not just stop and admire without criticizing and commenting on how we believe someone else could do a better job of being them? Seriously, think of the absurdity of that statement. Why do we ask others to hide large parts of themselves? Why do we exert so much energy trying to only show those parts of us that we think others want to see?

 

 

And yet, there is no denying that we are constantly asking people to shrink a little, to shove themselves into the currently available slots. We ask individuals to be less individual. And for god’s sake why? Are we really that much more comfortable with sameness? Our homes, our clothing, our cars, our very lives would indicate we are. Not that I am advocating for difference just for the sake of being different. I am talking about the differences that are born within the soul. That beg to come out and be heard and seen. There is such beauty in variety and yet we have such difficulty embracing it.

 

 

The world is full of hurt and overly self-conscious beings trying to be who others want and expect them to be. It is teeming with people who haven’t a clue how to be true to themselves because that inner voice was silenced long ago; with those who lash out and cause pain or completely retreat into themselves because they don’t understand where their pain is coming from or what’s missing in their lives. When we twist and contort and silence ourselves for approval or to avoid criticism, we create internal misery.

 

 

What are we afraid the end result will be if we lighten up a little bit? What is the worst that can happen if we give each other the space and the freedom to explore and play with our own possibilities? What ugliness comes from loving ourselves and each other enough to say, “You be whatever brings you joy and I’ll do the same?”

 

 

We are so indoctrinated to conform, it takes practice to be ourselves. We are so busy, we have to work to find them time to listen to our inner voice. We are so used to looking for approval from others that we forget how it feels to seek it from and for ourselves. But this week give you some thought. Give you some time. Stop seeking outside approval. Stop caring what other people think about you and start giving a damn about meeting your own expectations. About loving yourself. Do what you approve of and desire from the center of your being. There is no way to get everyone’s stamp of approval, so why not seek approval from the most important person? Why not just be you and let everyone else adjust to that?

 

 

Start listening to your heart dear ones. Start listening to your soul. Start following the path you came to walk in all your cosmic wisdom. You need no one’s guidance, no one’s approval, no one’s opinion. You are brilliant. You are the result of billions of years of evolution. So this week be amazing my loves, be damned amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

just say yes

Posted on October 16, 2016 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)


Have you missed me? I have missed you! I have missed writing. I have been so busy with the fallout from a nearly split second decision that I haven’t had the energy, time, or inclination to sit at a keyboard. Mind you, I have written several blogs in my head during my new commute, but they don’t exactly translate to the internet….

 

First let me say, in retrospect, I am crystal clear that I manifested that infamous call and our subsequent move. My husband and I had talked about making a move, my walking buddy and I had talked about it, my dil and I had daydreamed about living in the same city. We had discussed with close friends moving to Europe for a year or so, and had even joined a couple of organizations to that end. Everything about my conversations and my focus, had been towards moving even though we were locally looking for a house to buy. Go figure.

 

So when these moments arrive, what compels us to say yes? What compels us to say yes to a shift in our entire existence? What compels us to say yes without having all, or even a few, pieces in place? I know you are probably expecting an answer here, but all I can offer is this. I can say, from a logical standpoint, that I was given a job offer I couldn’t refuse at this stage in my life, but that’s not the whole truth. And yes, we have family here including our only grandchildren, but I am not sure that was even the core reason. Yes, it’s beautiful here. Yes, we were ready for our next adventure. But the best response as to why less than 24 hours after deciding to look for out of state employment, I said yes without taking a breath to think or even be present with my decision is this; I felt compelled. It’s that simple. I couldn’t have said no without feeling out of alignment.

 

I knew that truth in the moment, and then it got buried under a flurry of activity, a state of shock, a bit of terror, and the non-stop voice in my head that was trying to make sense of what was happening. The following weeks, that truth resurfaced again and again. But it didn’t seem like enough. Really? You uprooted both of your lives, left your friends you love and a city you adore to maintain alignment? What. The. Blessed. Hell. But there it is dear ones. I was compelled. It’s that simple.

 

During this process I have discovered that while traveling gives us a new perspective and lovely experiences, I have learned that moving to new places requires more than glimpsing a different view. It asks that you dig in, embrace the unknown, that you explore. It demands that you be brave in that stepping-off-a-cliff kind of way, and it really isn’t interested in comforting you in the process. No, relocating is a tough love friend. At times she is a bitch. In those moments I am grateful for family, for long distance friends, for my partner.

 

But while the journey has been difficult, as in I have wanted to run on more than one occasion, the benefits have been astounding. On a personal level I have been cracked wide open and given the chance to grow. I have had many occasions to practice what I teach, to witness myself being and doing more than I thought possible, to maneuver a new culture with an open heart, to share my essence with no protection. It has been painful, that is the nature of growth and expansion. It fucking hurts. It has also had its moments of exhilaration. It has empowered me beyond explanation while continuing to challenge me to show up and ask more of myself. It asks me to be more.

And in the end? No regrets. Not a single one. I have promised myself that when the Universe whispered in my ear, I would listen. And I did. I have promised myself that I will choose growth. And I have. I will choose to say yes to whatever life is generous enough to offer me. And then, always, I will say thank you. Even in the moments I want to run I will choose gratitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to speak or not to speak

Posted on July 10, 2016 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)


It’s not unusual to hear people, generally with pride in their voice, claim that they “speak their mind” or that they “tell it like it is”. Often this is in response to having said something hurtful, or at the very least abrasive and opinionated. Given that I am prone to encouraging people to speak their truth, I decided to spend some time exploring the nuances of stating our own version of reality aloud to others who may be hurt, disappointed, or angry as a result. What pieces of the exchange are our responsibility? How do we decide to speak or not? Is there a time when it is a healthier choice to remain silent? What are the criteria? How do we know if this is a truth or our truth? That’s a lot to figure out each time we have a conversation.

 

So let’s start with the paradigm that truly, any truth, is our truth. Truths are simply beliefs that we have acquired on our life paths, and each of us has walked a different way and had different experiences. So that thing that you are absolutely positively beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt certain about? Yes, that is your truth and you are welcome to claim it, just don’t make the assumption that it is anyone else’s truth. And be willing to honor their truth to the extent you wish to have yours accepted. This is a way to avoid the pitfalls of trying to defend or convince, and encourages us to be in listen mode, which is where every conversation should begin. From this foundation, for me anyway, the choices get a little more blurry.

 

For example, how do we know when to speak and when to simply breathe and let go? What are the criteria for deciding that you must confront someone about an issue? One of the first questions I ask myself is, “What was their intention?” If you know this person to be kind hearted or believe they care about you, is it possible you are taking something personally or reading malice into an innocent comment or act? We have all said or done something that had consequences we couldn’t or didn’t foresee. Is this a time for grace? Will addressing the situation make it clearer, cleaner and healthier in the future? If the answer is yes, go for it every time.

 

The second area to explore is our own intention. Why do we want to make this statement? Do we want to prove we’re right, or more to the point, that the other person was in the wrong? Are we seeking attention, vindication, or sympathy? Do we feel hurt and we want them to know? Or do we want to simply feel better about ourselves by judging another to be wrong? These are not easy questions to ask oneself, and the tendency is for our ego to jump to our rescue by justifying our words. And this is exactly how we end up ruminating for days, weeks, and decades over perceived hurts and old wounds. It’s why, when we do speak, our harsh or hurtful words may have little or nothing to do with the situation at hand, but instead be a result of a build up over time.

 

The flip side of this is that we do need to verbally address what matters to us. We need to state our beliefs on topics that matter. We need to gently teach people that we are not doormats to be walked upon, and that we need to receive as well as give respect. We need to speak up for those who have no voice. And sometimes we need to offer an alternative perspective. We do need to give our inner voice a chance to be heard.

 

So to speak or not to speak, that is the question only you can answer. Only you can examine your intention. Only you can choose to see their truth as well as your own. Only you can know if you are coming from a place of hurt or peace. Only you can know if it is your soul or your ego that is seeking to be heard.

 

 

don't take it with you

Posted on June 30, 2016 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (1)



For decades now I have been practicing letting go. Letting go of old wounds and painful memories. Letting go of people who drain me of energy. Letting go of foods, habits, and belief systems that no longer serve me well. And for the most part I have been successful. But here’s the thing; life goes on and new painful experiences pop up that can take the place of the ones you have released. Or new toxic people appear on your path. Or you find yourself not quite speaking your truth and then rehashing the scenario and what you “should” have said. In other words, in this area as in others, the work and the practice continue. It feels like perpetual decluttering, in that there is always something that we can release.

 

And the truth is, I’m more than a little tired of it and I want a better way. A better way of spending my mental and emotional energy. A better way than always needing to clean up my mental space. A better way of handling the life lessons that I request from the Universe. I mean, that’s what they ultimately are, right? They aren’t really random annoyances. They didn’t just happen to show up, we, on some level, requested them for our own growth and awakening. That’s why if we don’t do our work, the same people and the same problems just keep repeating themselves. When we resist the very lessons we invited in, they persist.

 

So what are my choices if I don’t want to either hold on to, or let go of what I don’t want in my life? Well it occurs to me that there is a third alternative. What if I just let the negative experience or encounter stay in the moment and I move on to the next? What if I don’t take it with me? In other words, what if I don’t pick it up, don’t begin a story about it, don’t embrace it, don’t give it thought or energy. Leave it right there. Be present when it’s happening. Speak my truth if I am able, with no regrets if I can’t. And then what if I do this. Leave. It. There. Move on and don’t give it another thought. Don’t go back over it. Don’t “process” what went wrong. Don’t ponder needing to be heard. Don't offer resistance. Accept. Breathe. Proceed.

 

So that’s my plan, loves. I’ve already begun doing it and it feels amazing. I feel lighter and more spacious. I feel less burdened. I feel more love, for myself and for others. I feel freer. So try it, and let me know how you do, where your stumbling blocks are, what comes easily for you. And in the spirit of changing our approach I am going to leave you with one of my favorite writings by Portia Nelson.

 

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

 

I.

I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost…….I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

II.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place,

but it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

 

III.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in………it’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

 

IV.

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

 

V.

I walk down another street.

 

 

window shopping

Posted on June 25, 2016 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

It seems to me that one of the primary causes of stress in those around me, personally and professionally, is imagined drama. Yes, I know that sounds harsh, but we all do it. Daily if not hourly. Our brains just seem programmed to create stories with every decision and every bit of information we receive. Most of the time we are either unaware of this, or we label it “processing” or “problem solving” or “discussing”, when what we are doing is imagining. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love imagining. I know it to be a powerful tool in creating the life we want, which is exactly why it needs to be used mindfully and with intention.

 

So much of the time when we are imagining, we are imagining what so and so will think of us, our decisions, our children, our clothes, our lives. We worry about being judged. We worry about inciting conflict. We worry. And where is the source of this worry? It starts with an observation which is quickly followed by a what-if which taps into our early training to fit in and garner approval. Bam. There it is. Our desire to avoid criticism. Our need for someone's validation. Our emotional fear and neediness become major players and we lose our clarity and our ability to observe and make decisions based solely on our own GPS. And this is unfortunate because our internal guidance is sacred, eternal and infallible.

 

Imagine if we could witness and experience our lives, but at the same time maintain clarity, and stay connected to our inner voice. Imagine then making decisions that were right for you, and therefore ultimately right for your loved ones. Imagine making a decision about your life that didn’t consider everyone but you in the process. What we’re talking about here is taking all the drama out of your head and out of your life. Not making assumptions about how people are going to react or what they are going to say. I am talking about only dealing with what is real and true and actually happening.

 

Imagine if you could witness your life with the same casualness with which you window shop? Imagine if you could stay clear enough to see, evaluate, decide and move on to the next moment without replaying, evaluating, expecting, and assuming? When we window shop we move at a pace that suits us without worrying about how quickly or slowly others on the street are walking. We don’t rate our speed. We view scenarios with no pressure to respond or act. We effortlessly enjoy the experience. We don’t assign roles or responses to those with whom we are sharing our time. We view, perhaps playfully consider a purchase, enjoy the moment and move to the next shop window. We are present, soaking up a series of sensory experiences without judgement. What a lovely metaphor for our lives.

 

How would your days be different if you “window shopped” them? If you gave no time to rehashing the last “window” you viewed? If you gave no energy to imagining how disappointing the next one would be? If you didn’t stress over how others viewed a window differently than you did? I am not suggesting we go through life without emotion, or completely detached from our lives. Quite the contrary, I am, however, suggesting that our emotional responses be authentic and from the heart and not based on fear or need.

 

So maybe this week we can set our intention to look around and enjoy. To move with less effort from one moment to the next without fear and self-judgement. Perhaps we can drop comparisons and expectations. Perhaps we could just enjoy the beautiful scenarios and moments that are our lives. So this week let's greet and release our moments with graciousness and acceptance so that we may enjoy each one that we are given.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


finding peace

Posted on June 12, 2016 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)


There are so very many things in this world to feel angry about, to feel sad about, to even feel completely overwhelmed and hopeless about. You see them. I see them. I know they cause you pain. My heart too, feels them in ways that are excruciating and devastating. For a moment and sometimes two. But I try in those moments to take a breath, and without resistance to what is calling up pain or anger or injustice, I turn my attention to all the people and things that call up gratitude and love. I call up the immense beauty of this world we live in. I look around at the sheer abundance of it all. And while I sometimes stumble and resist and even rant, I eventually release and breathe. And no it’s not easy, and sometimes it’s hard. Oh so hard. And sometimes I even, for a millisecond doubt my methods.

 

You see I have amazing friends and stellar examples of what it looks like to champion the underdog; give speeches, write petitions and hold rallies and parades. To be, what I can only describe as warriors of peace. The tireless and passionate Missy Crutchfield for one, and Tresa McCallie for another. And history is full of these beautiful souls who call attention to and fight for what they believe in. I admire them. I honor their commitment and their energy. That was me at one time, and sometimes the old me pulls on my shirt sleeve and whispers into my ear, “Let’s go! We can do this! We should do this!” But I can’t. I can’t because that choice no longer supports my core belief, and hasn’t for many years now. That choice does not allow me to practice what I believe is the most powerful element of change. And it does not, in the end, serve my heart well any longer.

 

So what do I believe? I believe that where we focus is where we go. I believe that our thoughts create our reality. I believe that what we give energy to grows stronger. And bigger. I believe love wins. Every time. I believe that what we resist persists. I know that to help people you have to love them where they are right now. I know that hurt people hurt people, and that nearly always when given consistent love, they soften, they grieve, they grow and learn to give love. I know that our anger and our violence and our hatred comes from fear and feelings of injustice and vulnerability, and that only love can dissolve those defensive emotions. And I believe all of this with every fiber of my being. And I also know it isn't easy.


Do I want there to be transformation in the world for all the marginalized? Hell yes. But ultimately I believe that world transformation begins with personal transformation. I cannot transform others, only myself. I have to focus on the woman in the mirror. Otherwise I am prone to blaming and pointing fingers and not taking responsibility, and seeing the world through an us and them lens. I believe that personal transformation is the answer. One person. One heart. One soul at a time. I believe my actions of love and compassion and kindness will make a difference. I believe they do make a difference. And that is my focus. The people who cross my path to whom I can extend a smile, a generous tip, a listening ear, an open heart. That is my choice. And to do my personal work by sitting on my mat, examining my own beliefs, by doing my work.

 

But here is something else I hold as truth. There is enough room for all of us and for our ideas. There is beauty in contrast. There is sacredness in choice. There is value in difference. There are opportunities to learn where there is dissonance if we listen. We have each arrived at our current location as a result of our pasts and our paths. That is to be honored and cherished. We see things as we are, not as they are. Each perspective is valid given the lense through which it is viewed. Each of us is valuable to the evolution of humanity. We need to remember this. We need to remind each other of this. We do not have to agree with one another in order to have respect for each other. We do not have to agree in order to give space for differences. We do not have to agree. And while I may look as though my head is in the sand or that I am wearing rose colored glasses or that I am choosing to turn a deaf ear, know that I am aware and focused. I am awake and making conscious choices.


I know it can feel like there are no right answers, only difficult choices. I am right there with you in that. So this week, whether you silently meditate or march on city hall, do so with the intention of love and compassion, and know that my heart is with you in every breath and every step.

 

 

easy does it

Posted on June 6, 2016 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (1)

Everywhere we turn these days there are self-help books, positive affirmations, funny memes, and ideas about how we can better ourselves, improve our lives and maneuver through the rough days. And trust me, I appreciate them, I do. I am an avid reader of and follower of several people who inspire and motivate me. Not to mention that in my daily life I gravitate towards positive and interesting people who share their wisdom and their journey. And I am right there with them; blogging, posting, coaching, sharing and encouraging.

 

But still, what motivates us on any specific day, what we can actually hear through our own noise, changes. And we forget. Yeah that. We read or hear something and we feel inspired for like, a minute. And then like a damn squirrel we are for a moment (or a month) distracted. That bit of wisdom or advice that seemed so simple and so easy and so life altering? Poof. Gone. Forgotten. And the big question seems to center around why staying focused can be so difficult. I hear it all the time from clients and friends.

 

So if all this yummy lovely wisdom is coming at us daily, and if much of it seems easy and speaks to our hearts, why then are so many of us struggling to integrate it into our daily lives? One aspect may just be the sheer volume of information we receive. Clean up your diet, meditate, do yoga, think positively, be grateful, drink more water, move your body more, practice mindfulness, turn off your screen, get outside, take supplements, sleep more, sleep better, buy less, own less, be present, keep a journal, watch this documentary, and the list goes on. And on. And on. How many saved links and emails do you have that in your heart of hearts you know you are never going to go back and read? At least not in this lifetime anyway.

 

So here come some more words of advice. Pick one or two things that speak to your heart and make it soar, that give words you couldn’t form to the intention you want for your day. Choose from your core being. Write them down. Read them as often as possible and let them be your compass. Lean on them. Lean into them. And for now, let everything else go. Trust that these are, at least for now, all you need. Don’t bookmark, don’t save. Trust that when you have integrated these bits into your very being, the next steps will present themselves. You can’t do it all so don’t try. For the next few weeks if your only goals are better sleep and petting your dog more, that’s fantastic. Seriously, life is short and in the end there is no gold star for perfect. Get quiet inside and ask, “What will make my heart happy?” Do that. And when it becomes second nature, ask again, “What else would make you happy?”

 

It is a sad reality that many, if not most of us, don’t truly know the answer. We have limited ourselves with false beliefs about scarcity, money, self-worth and so much more. So I am telling you now, you are worth it, whatever it is. Stop trying so hard to take it all in. Stop rating yourself on how you did today. Start having more fun. Start with the assumption that you are amazing and astonishing exactly how you are, and that anything more is just, well, colorful sprinkles on top. Stop looking at yourself as an imperfect project. Life is good now. You are good. Now. Remember that you are golden, you are stardust, you are eternal, you are a bit of the universe. So relax, laugh, have fun, connect with others, do what makes you come alive. You are worthy my dear ones, now act like it.

 

 


idiots, losers, and asshats

Posted on May 24, 2016 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)


From the time we are small children, the adults in our lives admonish us for calling other people names. Ask any teacher or parent and they will back me up on this; we don’t like it when we hear a child call another child stupid, or a dummy, or any other derogatory name. And with good reason. It isn’t nice. It’s hurts the other person. And the one act that prompted the name calling isn’t representative of who that person really is, and once labeled it makes it so much more difficult to see them accurately, or with compassion. On the flip side we also teach children that name calling is a form of bullying and a way to make the name caller feel superior or better about themselves. So in general, we take a stance that says we should not belittle others by labeling them in a negative way. Or at least until you (chronologically) grow up.

 

Once you become sensitive to this issue, you realize just how often adults call each other names, and how similar most of them are to the ones you heard in fourth grade! Dumbass, the grown up version of dummy, is common. Idiot has reached epic levels of overuse. Asshat (shows guilt by raising own hand), has gained popularity in the last few years. Trash and more commonly, white trash, surprisingly still used. Loser also popular. And then there are the names that have gained a toxicness to them; conservative, liberal, Christian, Muslim, New Ager, working mom, intellectual, stay at home mom. Depending on the speaker and the context, these labels can feel like a guilty verdict. And of course, there is an unlimited supply of more colorful and vulgar names.

 

And if we are at all honest, most of us have committed most of the atrocities that prompt us to angrily spew names at others. We have made gross errors in judgement. We have been pre-occupied careless drivers. We have been rude, or insensitive, to others. We have unknowingly done something that harmed another when our intentions were good. I don’t know about you, but I can take a walk down memory lane on any given day and wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?” “Where was my brain” “Where was my common sense?” We get busy, we don’t pay attention, we forget to take others’ perspective, and often we don’t think ahead to the consequences of our behavior. Just yesterday in the store, in the middle of trying to figure something out, a woman smiled at me. The smile registered about a full five seconds after the fact. I turned around and she was gone. And how many times have I mentioned grumpy people who don’t return a simple smile?

 

We are all a product of our experiences and our environments. Some of us have been privileged to have and recognize great teachers and mentors along the way. Some of us learn more quickly than others. What seems simple and obvious to one person can be unfamiliar and obscure to another. Given another set of genetics and background we would each be capable of what may, in this moment, seem unimaginable. So let’s give others the benefit of the doubt. Let’s give some leeway for errors on the freeway and in judgement. Let's abandon the idea that we are better or smarter than others. Let’s set our intentions for kindness and patience. We all grow and flourish and learn the best under those circumstances. I’m pretty sure no good has ever come from me muttering “asshat” under my breath….

 

 

curating our lives

Posted on May 15, 2016 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)



For those of you who have been following our journey for the last few years, you know there has been a theme: downsizing extraordinaire. With all due respect to Marie Kondo and her one and done theory, I beg to differ. I have decided that after several years of much going out, and little coming in, I am still, always and forever going to be downsizing. Period. And what brought me to this particular realization on this particular week you ask? Brace yourself. We are doing yet another tag sale. I would say that this is the last and final one, but I know better. I said that after the two ginormous sales we had in Indiana prior to our move. I said it following the two we had here after we moved. I said it after we did the neighborhood sale two years ago. Clearly I am delusional.

 


And I know there are those of you, my mother included, who are shaking their heads and asking what in the hell we could possibly have left to get rid of at this point. Trust me. Stuff. There are things I held onto for sentimental reasons. Things I kept because they had been such a necessity before and it seemed they would be again. Things that I had mindlessly kept because they weren’t on my radar as possible victims of my de-cluttering. Not to be cliche, but it’s like peeling an onion, and I am just as surprised as anyone that we still have more layers to shed, and that we are still finding things to let go of amongst our belongings. Easily. Naturally. Willingly.

 

But here’s the thing. The less we have, the less we need. The less we want. And I am developing this intolerance for anything that we aren’t actually using. While I once had drawers and cupboards dedicated to "extras", loved places like the Container Store, and organization and storage was a fun challenge for me, now when I see neatly labeled boxes I wonder if I really need anything in them, and when the last time we used those items was, which gets me to thinking when, if ever, we will use them again. Multi-colored plastic plates from past Cinco de Mayo parties? Um, probably not. Seven large white tablecloths? I think two will do. And exactly how many crystal vases and trivets do I use? That beautiful comforter that’s been folded on a closet shelf for five years. Really Stacey? Let. It. Go. Combine all this with finding a flyer on my door this week inviting us to participate in a sale on our street, plus some unsold items we had posted on Craigslist, and you have the perfect storm.

 

With the current tiny house craze and the focus on minimalism, we are all aware that there are so many beautiful realities and benefits of owning less, but the greatest for gift for me has been self discovery and personal growth. I am clearer now about what I love than ever before. I am clearer about my priorities. I am crystal clear on some old issues that needed to be released. It has become easier for me to take responsibility, and easier for me to be truly honest with myself and others. I am not my things and they do not represent me or my worth. I am showing up in the world more stripped down, more authentically. I am freer to examine every day how I want and need to maneuver through my hours, and with whom. Some days it’s overwhelming. Some days it’s intoxicating. Some days it brings me to tears, and to my knees, from the sheer pleasure.

 

So once again I find myself saying good-bye. Buying those ugly bright colored stickers at Walgreen’s and deciding what things are worth as I stand poised, marker in hand. For while it seems this is about mimimalism and perhaps even deprivation, it is ultimately about abundance. Abundance and appreciation without attachment. Gratitude without regret. Anticipation without expectation. Appreciation that we had and enjoyed such abundance. Gratitude for the gift of curating and distilling what we own down to the essence of what brings us joy. And anticipation of whatever is next to come in our journey. So what brings you joy? What brings you to your knees? What’s your recurring theme and what’s next for you my dear ones?

 

 


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