Tag Archives: Ease

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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Day 21: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Today is a Gift


One of the things I wrote about yesterday was how I can find all kinds of ways to lapse into unconsciousness.

After I stopped shopping online, I discovered I could also lose huge chunks of time by trying to create the perfect image to represent an idea I wanted to write about.

I love the trading card design I created for the post about Lack or Love AND I spent most of the day making it. I love the image I created. It’s really cool. I’m going to use it as a template for one of my projects. Still, I feel as though I spent a fair amount of time being pretty obsessive-compulsive.

I think there’s a middle ground.

The image created for this post took me about 15 minutes using Photoshop. It’s my “good enough” image so I really can have more time today to experience the gift today is.

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Day 20: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Hitting the Wall & Finding Love


I started today by reading a selection from Rami Shapiro’s book, Recovery: the Sacred Art. This is one of my favorite books for spiritual practice because it captures a lot of what I’ve found to be true in a very simple way.

I also appreciate the gentle humor Rami uses. Addiction recovery and spiritual ideas can get really intense and serious and the humor in this book makes it easier to enter my day. Sometimes after an intense reading I feel like I’m emerging from a cave making it harder to step into the stream of everyday life.

Today I was reading about how events that feel like rude awakenings have been the most direct paths to getting what I wanted.

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Day 18: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Love or Lack?


As I continue to define the kind of business I want to have and my purpose for having a business, the tool I’m finding most helpful is to ask myself periodically, am I doing this from a place of Love or a place of Lack?

I created this card as a prompt to keep asking this question because it’s so important.

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Day 16: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – A Better Way to Get Attention

Indian Elephant

There’s a scene in the television show, Breaking Bad, where the character, Jessie is talking with his younger brother, Jake. Jessie was always the “bad kid”–not applying himself in school, doing drugs, and hanging out with a bad crowd. Eventually his parents do “tough love” and kick Jessie out.

Jake on the other hand is the the “good kid”–he’s only 12 but is already recognized as a star by his parents and teachers. In fact, one of the main reasons, Jessie was kicked out was to protect Jake from Jessie’s bad influence.

In the scene, Jessie is telling Jake to stay clean because he’s going to make something of his life (unlike Jessie). It’s like the only kid their parents see is Jake. Jessie might as well be invisible.

“Are you kidding?” Jake says, “All mom and dad ever talk about is you.”

Everyone wants attention and recognition. Kids want to be recognized by their parents for their unique talents and achievements. As adults we want to be noticed and recognized by people we respect; our bosses, clients, friends, and family.

Although we’re always told the way to get that attention and recognition is to be exceptionally accomplished, in practice, the people who get the most attention are the “bad kids.”

I was a troublemaker in my family and it got me attention but it didn’t get me what I really wanted. That’s what what I’m writing about here.

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Day 15: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Asking “What’s Right About This?”


I have been in the habit of seeing what’s wrong about any situation, idea, thing, etc. for most of my life.

Why? I think there was a time when it was a “squeaky wheel gets the grease” strategy. Unhappy, misbehaving kids tend to get more attention than happy, obedient children.

And apparently, Enneagram 4’s tend to focus in on what’s wrong or missing. We’re more likely to be hard wired to “hope for the best but expect the worst.” If there was ever a recipe for a life of disappointment and regret, that’s it in a nutshell.

So what can I do to create a habit of seeing what’s right?

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Day 14: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Ideas for Self-Appreciation

monsters and cupcakes

I asked my coach, Lynn Ellis, to share some creative ideas for appreciating my strengths as an Enneagram 4.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Day 12: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – The Specialness Issue


Yesterday, a friend forwarded a promotion to me from a coach we both knew. The cost of this coach’s program was in the thousands of dollars; a far higher price than I’ve ever considered charging.

But it wasn’t just what this coach was charging. Hearing the coach’s name, I’ll call her “Iris” brought up all kinds of feelings and memories for me. None of the them good ones.

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Day 9: Taking the Struggle Out of Life – Breaking Out of the Rejection Avoidance Trap


No one enjoys rejection but I seem to go out of my way to avoid rejection.

I didn’t always see myself this way. I used to see myself as more in the middle when it came to handling situations in which rejection was likely. I’ve experienced quite a bit of rejection and I’ve always been able to bounce back.

But in retrospect I’m not sure I’ve bounced back. I think what I’ve really been doing is using some old coping tricks which work to a degree but have also kept me stuck and, in a way, imprisoned.

Which naturally raises the question, why would anyone willingly keep themselves in imprisoned?

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