Category Archives: Choosing Joy

Am I On-Track?


Sometimes I can chase a particular idea down a rabbit hole and get so caught up that I don’t notice I’m gotten completely off my intended path. Thank goodness I have people in my life who grab me by the belt before I completely disappear.

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Day 27: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – The High Price of Avoidance

As I contemplate my circumstances, it’s clear that I’m here because I’ve been avoiding stuff.

I feel I’ve addressed the issue of avoidance before but I have a deeper awareness now of what I’ve been avoiding and why it’s important to stop avoiding.

What have I been avoiding? Reality. The reality? People in small business do things and I take those things to mean I don’t have value. It’s all about my ego. No actually, it’s all about focusing on my ego’s reaction which is valid but not that important.

It’s about my decision to give my ego’s response and interpretation meaning and allow that meaning to guide my decisions and actions.

At this point, I’m considering the following actions and haven’t yet tipped in favor on any one in particular:

Look at technical projects that sound interesting and that I’m qualified to work on. This action supports finding contract consulting work.

Talk with people about their marketing and messaging challenges. This action supports creating a business.

Doing some exercises to help me better articulate what exactly I’m looking for which would actually support both since if I can better articulate what I’m wanting, I’m open to different ways to having those things.

OK, based on the above, adding some words to articulate what I’m interested in sounds like the way to go.

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Day 23: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Unconditional Happiness

Yesterday I was listening to the Marianne Williamson’s Letting Go and Becoming and in particular, the part about how many of us make our happiness contingent on getting something we believe we lack.

That something can be just about anything: a relationship, a better job, a promotion. Or it could be about getting rid of something we believe is making our lives miserable: an impossible boss, taxes (especially this time of the year), an extra 20 pounds, etc.

As I was listening, it occurred to me that so often I’ll look back on a particular time in my life and think, “Wow, I had a lot to be happy about.” But during the time period I’m thinking of, I wasn’t very happy at all.

For example, I took two years off to get my MBA. I look back at this time now as one of the best in my life. But during those two years I would say I was rarely joyous.  I definitely had fun and had enjoyable moments, but I was always worried about my future and that had a big dampening effect on my happiness.

There are a variety of reasons people get advanced degrees like MBAs: a big one is the ability to earn more money. I worked in advertising: a field that doesn’t pay well especially at the lower levels. I wanted to be able to make enough to live on my own. Another big reason was to get a more satisfying job with advancement opportunities. As someone in the marketing profession, most large companies required an MBA to qualify for positions in brand management. I wanted better options.

So during the two years I was an MBA student, I constantly worried about getting a job after I graduated. I think getting a job probably occupied my thoughts at least 75% of the time. The classes I took, the part time jobs I had…even the people I hung out with to some degree was contingent on “Will this help me get a job off?”

The point is, because I was so focused on a future event, I didn’t enjoy the present much. As an example, I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor is a beautiful town. The campus itself is really cool and there are a lot of neighborhoods with old homes surrounded by large shade trees and gardens. I would often take long walks and even though part of me was enjoying the sights, in the back of my mind there was still that endless question beating away, “Will I get a job offer?”

If I wasn’t worrying about whether I’d get a job offer I was fantasizing about how it would be when I did get my job offer: the clothes I’d buy, where I’d live, the boyfriend I’d have, the cool things I’d accomplish, and the accolades I’d get.

I was in my head not in my life.

So this made me think, “What if the time I’m living in, right now, is a time I’ll look back at fondly and I’m not allowing myself to fully experience it because I’m so pre-occupied with getting what I don’t have?”

That’s a good question to ask because it gets me out of my head and reminds me to appreciate the present moment more no matter what is happening. Appreciating means slowing down. Taking a moment to notice how things look, smell, and taste. Noticing my emotions, good and bad.

Some good questions and ideas to be with today.

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Filed under Choosing Joy, Getting Out of My Own Way, Mindfulness

Radical Forgiveness – Day 5


I decided to shift my focus from online shopping to forgiveness because when I stopped shopping and buying stuff online I realized that being in a fugue state online masked a lot of negative feelings and enabled me to stuff all kinds of hurts and resentments down.

Although the distractions meant I didn’t have to deal with all the yuckiness … none of it went away. It just stayed there until I finally did something to deal with it.

Over the last week I’ve been reading Radical forgiveness (Colin Tipping) and I’ve been putting a lot of focus and energy into understanding the beliefs and preconceptions I’ve been holding as my way to interpret my world. The theme that keeps coming up for me is: I am doomed to spend my life being unappreciated and uncompensated for my gifts and am fated to a life of frustration and bitterness.

When I write this it’s feels pretty comical because it’s oh so dramatic and seems ridiculously extreme. Yet at least a handful of my friends seem to share these beliefs. One friend emails me from time to time complaining about “Earthlings” who just don’t get the brilliant services he offers and his frustration with trying to “get them to see the value.”

I can relate and I know also that complaining does absolutely nothing to improve the situation. I’m well-acquainted with complaining and grousing and although it feels good to have other people commiserate it never got me any closer to what I wanted.

So I figure I’d try the radical forgiveness approach to see if that will shift my way of showing up in the world.

For example, because I have been moving through my life with the assumption I’m a some sort misfit and doomed to live a life of people who love me but just don’t get me at best and being dismissed and rejected at worst, I realized that I’ve seen my world as a kind of emotional battlefield in which I’m just waiting to be rejected by the people I encounter.

Rejection doesn’t mean someone out and out saying, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard” and turning their back on me although that’s happened from time to time. It’s often very subtle things like someone interrupting me and saying “I have to be in another meeting in 5-minutes” or saying “What exactly is your question.”

I’ve learned that people rarely intend what they do and say to be a rejection. It’s my perception and super sensitivity to all those things that has me interpreting everything as that way.

I’m also learning I have a foundation story and then there are all kinds of little variations on the theme that pop up for me as well.

I’m not sure I’ve yet healed much so far but the first step of any process is insight and awareness and I’m hopeful that I’ll be moving closer to feeling peace in the future. And I’m also hopeful that I’ll at least be able to heal in terms of my emotional responses to specific situations that I’ve found trigger me.

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