the courageous year: an update

This post was written in November 2009 and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching.

So, at this point, you wonderful people have pretty much made my day so many times that I can’t quite fathom any of what is happening, and I am so very grateful for all of it, again and again and again.

Yesterday was a record day for the number of signups in one day for my Courageous Year e-course.

I’m sending all participants a little special something in the mail, and those letters are making their way to all corners of the world–today I will send something to Greece (!), I’ve sent packages to Canada, the U.K., and all corners of the United States.

Still more of you have volunteered to pass out Courageous Cards in your area.

What are Courageous Cards?  They’re cards that dare people to dream. You leave them in special places like yoga studios or coffee shops, or (like my mother) in little nooks and crannies of bookstores (I so love the idea that someone would be browsing in a bookstore, which is a favorite activity of mine, and run across one of my cards), and trust that the right person will find it at the right time, and that when they do some little whisper or glimmer inside of them will breathe and go, “Hey. Hey, you. You’re courageous. You can do this thing you want to do. You can make this shift you want to make.”

Today alone, mail is going out to Oregon, Ohio, Florida, San Francisco, Toronto, British Columbia, Missouri, Massachusetts, Edinburgh (!), Colorado, and New Yawk.

That’s not counting the 15 or so packets that I sent out two weeks ago, which also went to places as diverse as Ireland and Chicago.

I needed to order more cards from my printer, yesterday!

So basically, I am giddy and so excited for what this year will bring for myself and the people participating. And the enthusiasm has really made me sit up straighter and put some additional pressure on the pedal to make this good. To check every single detail that I can and to really, truly, bring this course alive because it’s not just about the course or the individual goals of the participants, but I see some larger possibility here, both for connection between people as well as creating the world we want to live in. I see something so bold and beautiful and COURAGEOUS about all of this. 

I want you to know that I still have days, even whole weeks, where fear just runs my ass (I was going to phrase that more delicately, but I figured y’all appreciate honesty!). I mean, I seriously have these moments where my stomach is in knots, and then that goes away and I trust that it’s all going to be okay. 

Then the knots come back and I’m going nuts-o again. I’m riding this wave. I’m just trusting that if I do what I know has worked for me time and time again, things are going to be okay: Feel afraid, do it anyway, transform.

If you would like to get on the list for my next mail out of Courageous Cards to leave in your area, please let me know–email me and send me your address. And if you’re interested in learning more about The Courageous Year, feel free to click on the link and go.

P.S. Several people have emailed me to ask if I’m going to monitor enrollments to make sure that the course isn’t too large and overwhelming. The answer? Absolutely. I’m using a Content Management System (CMS) that will allow me to put the people enrolled into separate groups so that things remain more intimate, and I’ll also have a lot of control over the discussion forums–I can set up categories, for instance, so that things are organized and threads are easier to find.

a simple shift

I’d just had…a rough week. We’d just moved. I was sick with the gazillionth cold that year. We ran the washer for the first time and something criss-crossed somewhere and a sewer line backed up (ew!). Then the dishwasher wasn’t properly settled into the cabinetry and literally “fell” forward when I tried to load it.

As my mind ruminated on the things that seemed to be going wrong one after the others–yet another thing needing repair, why wasn’t this taken care of?, I bet something else is going to go wrong, next–I felt white hot pissed off anger coursing through my veins.

I tried to breathe and access the body and noticed that I was suddenly feeling really, really run-down and far more sick than I had felt when waking up.

It was this little reminder that ANGER IS TOXIC

Now, I don’t believe that it’s healthy for people to just repeat affirmations trying not to feel their anger or frustration or sadness or whatever negative emotion comes up. Anything that we cannot sit with will run us. But it really, really hit me how when I carry around anger and frustration, this stuff is just toxic sludge. 

So as I hopped into my car and drove to grab a cup of coffee, I played my theme song–the song that is my ring tone, the song that is my life’s theme song–“Golden” by Jill Scott.

I played it twice.

I felt immensely better (and less sick).

A Simple Shift

Slowly, things improved. I ran into my friend Laurie Wagner at Peet’s. We caught up on friends. I was invited to a trunk show she was co-hosting. By the time I left Peet’s, my thought process had completely shifted.

And this is the point: it was a simple shift.

When I started with the conscious choice to do one small thing–playing a song that lifted my spirits–that was enough to start digging me out of the hole of ugh that had begun. And when I made yet another conscious choice to take some time to connect with another human being, that was another piece.

Technically, nothing had changed–the dishwasher wasn’t fixed and I still had the cold and still felt tired from the move–but I wasn’t feeling particularly frustrated by any of it, anymore.

It’s when we make a simple shift that we see how possible change really is. I appreciate that I didn’t get completely caught in the rabbit hole of fear, negativity, or feeling like life was nothing but a series of challenges. Even if I hadn’t run into a friend, listening to a song that lifted my spirits was entirely free.

Where do you get stuck thinking that the only way you can be happy is to completely overhaul your life? Sometimes, a simple shift is all it takes.

You may also like:

Sitting with my stuff vs. wallowing
What to do when you feel confused
What’s your kryptonite?

hail to the good things

I was thinking about how something that could be really positive (New Year’s Resolutions) often just becomes a measuring stick for self-hate, for how we could do it better, or as evidence for all the ways we’ve “failed” already.

I was thinking that this is bullshit (because it is). I was thinking that what I really wanted was just to tear up/do away with all of that old negative stuff and instead step into something new.

I feel the need to explain because you’ll see things in this video like, “Lose 10 pounds,” and the thing is, I think that it’s totally fine if someone wants to lose 10 pounds (ever notice how there’s this weird backlash now against working on yourself, like the most evolved place one can be is to be “above” working on themselves? I’m all about accepting myself as-is while also acknowledging that there are spaces where I want to grow, spaces where I default to old habits that no longer serve me).

It’s fine if someone wants to lose ten pounds or forgive their mother or find more time to exercise–but I continually like to ask whether there are ways of stepping into a bigger or more authentic vision around this, one that brings into the circle the idea of PLAY, and keeping things loose, and self-care.

The be kinder, be more patient, be more be more be more messages…I just loved tearing it all up. It was deeeeeelicious to tear up those messages–I highly recommend it. Just write down all of the messages that you feel yourself pressured to live up to, and then let them rip!

(don’t worry; I purchase 100% post-consumer content recycled paper, and all of this paper was recycled after I made the video!).

So that’s my explanation for all of that–now I commence with showing you the video!



Click to tweet: Don’t turn resolutions into self-hate.