13 March 2014


Welcome! You are awesome! Thank you for the chance to share my ideas with you.

This week’s DungeonPrompt is SECRETS.

My first reaction to this prompt was to not do it. The word secrets brings up shame from my past. But I have a commitment to blog and so I turned toward my fear and let go my anxiety about it. After releasing my anxiety I realized I hadn’t updated my perception of myself. You see…

In my childhood there were all kinds of secrets. Secrets I kept from my grandmother about the things I did at my house during the week. Secrets I kept from my mom so I wouldn't get in trouble. Secrets I kept from everyone because I was scared that they would be angry at me. But the darkest were the secrets I kept from myself. The secret that I wasn't really safe in the world. The secret that even God didn't love me unless I did what he wanted.

I believed in that young age that all of these secrets kept me safe. I determined that to be sneaky was to be in control.

Sometimes even today that older version of me still stored in my subconscious leaks into my conscious mind. He told me to not write this article. He told me to keep this part of myself a secret.

I love him but he no longer drives the boat.

In the intervening years I have, of course, gained further refinements to my understanding of secrets. I learned that having secrets was more complex than I first thought.

In some cases keeping secrets had a positive result:

  • Demonstrating integrity
  • Being trustworthy
  • Respecting boundaries
  • Avoiding gossip

In other cases keeping a secret was less impeccable:

  • Playing it close
  • Not telling all of the story
  • Acting ignorant or playing it dumb

And at the times when I was most out of integrity secrets allowed me to:

  • Hide things
  • Lie outright
  • Spread a rumor
  • Gain control

Let’s just say I developed a complex relationship with secrets. :)

In 2003 I made an agreement to not be sneaky and lie. Around this same time I obtained a copy of the book, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz. In the book the agreement to be Impeccable with my word seemed right but when I looked at the descriptions in the book that younger version of me started to look for loopholes. I was up against a lifetime of using secrets to make myself feel safer.

From then I worked on holding myself accountable for being sneaky and worked to determine what was driving me underneath anytime I was not impeccable with my word.

As I worked on this I found several themes:

  1. When I was afraid I was more willing to forgo my integrity and lie
  2. When I was angry I was more willing to tell a story that made me look good
  3. When I was sad I was more willing to be disappointed and to act hurt by others
  4. Shame and guilt from my lack of integrity only led to cycles of deceit

So today I've learned that for me the challenge of being impeccable with my word has more to do with my internal state than any issue of self control, morality, or discipline. I am able to live in my integrity when I am not being driven by my emotional reactions.

Patience with myself, self-forgiveness for my wrongs, and humility about who I am instead of shame and guilt are the path to living in my integrity. Through the blessing of God and the healing of love I can stay in my integrity, for love is the source of my patience, forgiveness, and humility.

As I increase my self-esteem and unveil my true potential and capabilities, I am less and less reactionary. When I’m more comfortable in my skin, I listen to that scared internal kid less and less. Those old memories come back from time to time like a long lost friend. I can treat them with love but not let them get a hold of me.

However, the road of life has potholes. So the secrets I keep and the lack of integrity I might show from inside a pothole are not a reflection of my highest self. They are instead reflections of my fear and frustration born from the rut in the road. With sincere kindness for self I will slow down for the potholes so I can pass through them without so much chaos, fear, or anger.

Thanks to Sreejit for another great Prompt. Thanks to you for reading and sharing in my blog. I wish love, joy, and serenity to you.

12 March 2014


Welcome! Thanks for stopping by to read my post. I really appreciate everyone who comes to read my posts. Thank you.

Peter Senge wrote an excellent book The Fifth Discipline that I read many years ago. It’s an excellent read that got me started into an area of study called Systems Thinking.

His book and some personal observations gave me a lot of guidance on how to approach problems both professionally and personally.

The premise I based my observations on is that the complexity of a system is derived from three factors:

  1. The number of inputs to the system that have an impact on the outputs
  2. The time delay between cause and effect
  3. The variability of effects interventions can have on the final outcome

My goal is to understand these elements of any problem, place, or group so I can operate inside them effectively.

Before I lose you let me get to the point. When we feel frustrated, confused, or powerless, it’s often born out of the complexity of the situation and our our lack of understanding of what is happening and not anything actually untoward happening. We want things to be simpler so we can predict the outcomes and feel safer. When we can’t, many of us freak out and predict bad things are coming.

This is why so much of the time we get frustrated when things don't go the way we predict or are used to. This is why many enlightened people like Gandhi recommend “seeking first to understand.” Gaining knowledge of a system will help us feel safer and thus our interactions in the situation will be more clear-headed.

The challenge is that being part of the human experience, we often find ourselves in places and groups where the complexity is beyond our understanding, and the sense of urgency for us to take action is immediate, e.g. interacting with our in-laws, buying a house, interacting with a government agency, working in a new company, etc...

In these situations we have to remind ourselves that its OK to feel out of control and to find resources who can help us. In some cases we employ people, e.g. therapists, and lawyers. In other cases these people have a shared interest in the situation, e.g.bosses, mentors, advocates, spouses, and partners.

So when you feel frustrated or even angry at the situation, remind yourself that you can take a moment. In that moment remind yourself that you aren't in a terrible situation. In the moment between two seconds you can let go of your fear or frustration and decide instead to ask questions, take the time you need to analyze, and to ask for help. Getting information, taking the time you need and getting support will help you get grounded and act in ways that advocate for yourself and help you achieve your needs and goals.

One final note I'll make on this -- if you find that for your life feels out of your control all the time, realize that you may be in a process where you create complexity and that the solution doesn't come from other people but from inside. You may just need to simplify your life. As the Alcoholics Anonymous slogan goes, "KISS: keep it simple [silly]."

Thank you for sharing in my blog experience. Its a true pleasure to share these with you.

10 March 2014

Confronting yourself is loving yourself

Welcome! Thank you for checking out my blog. I appreciate you taking the time to read what I have written. Perhaps you will share some of your thoughts inspired by what is here in the comments below or share this blog with a friend.

Last year I reached a point where it was time to work on my health again. I was nervous to confront my weight, I was frustrated by how hard it was to lose weight, and I had a behavior of indulgence when my mood was down.

I went to the doctor as part of my process and there the doctor confronted me with my high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and the conclusion that my problems were mostly caused by being overweight.

I sat confronted by my behaviors, confronted with the natural consequences of my behavior, the cost of which was going to be ongoing health problems unless I changed something now.

But I didn't want to give up my indulgences. I didn't want to change my eating. The self medicating those indulgences provided reduced my stress and made me happy, so instead of confronting my opinions and reactions I could just eat away my discomfort.

Over the next six months I tried to discipline myself without the deep rooted changes I needed. I made modest progress. I lost weight. But my stress level was growing and my indulgences were hard to resist. It was a constant struggle.

Until late last year. I was facing the end of 2013 without much change to my health. Still on the medications. Still 50 lbs overweight. It was clear to me that for me to change I had to do something more serious. I had to confront my behavior of indulgence. I had to start parenting myself in much stronger and deeper ways. I had to get to the root of my discomfort and start to work on it.

I had to confront my expectations of abandonment and root out the beliefs that still affected my self-esteem.

But these are hard things to bring to the conscious mind. They are deeply rooted in my sub-conscious because they have been with me from the youngest of ages. So I made three agreements with myself:

  1. I would no longer treat hunger as an emergency.
  2. I would determine my feelings when I thought I was feeling hungry
  3. I would work daily on my feelings of fear, guilt, or shame.

Throughout December and January I found this struggle daily. I lost 12 lbs in January and I was much more aware of what was going on with my feelings. Then it hit me. I was still discounting myself. I was still believing that something was wrong with me. I was still limiting myself. I was still using feelings of fear, guilt, and shame as sticks to create a need to indulge, only now I was just working on the feelings and working through them instead of indulging.

Up to this point my confrontations with myself had been about my behaviors. But now it was time to dive deeper. To dive down into the underlying beliefs. I knew this was going to be hard. I had tons of information and tools to help from the years of therapy, but I was missing one ingredient --  an unwillingness to accept my feelings of fear, guilt, or shame as conclusions to my situation. I needed an unwillingness to keep thinking of myself in negative terms. I wasn't ready to let go of my self doubt. It was still serving me somehow.

You might wonder, “but how would that serve you?” I have always gotten a lot of happiness by indulging myself. I have worked to change behavior but I still wanted to indulge myself with food, pride, self-pity, and media distraction.

But as my friend Karuna Poole wrote in her blog article Living in Gratitude, I was putting happiness ahead of Joy. I could accomplish feeling happy but I wasn't feeling the joy that awaited me on the other side. Then I did several things --

  1. I started listening to myself and my unhappiness.
  2. I started focusing on what is right in my life.
  3. I started sharing with people what was making a change in my life.

I started realizing how much happier I was when I was focused on positive energy and outcomes.

I have started last week to spend ten days without being negative. Today is day three.

I’ll report back here with more outcomes I learn from this process.

Thanks for coming to my blog. I appreciate all the feedback I’m getting.

09 March 2014


Welcome! Thank you for coming to my blog. I appreciate you taking the time to read what I have written. Perhaps you will share some of your thoughts inspired by what is here in the comments below.

As some of you may remember from a post I made a few weeks ago I'm listening to audiobooks by Tony Robbins.

In the latest chapter of Giant Steps: Small Challenges To Make A Big Difference he challenged me to take the 10-day challenge. His challenge is to always be in a positive, problem-solving attitude.

Today my eldest daughter introduced me to a hashtag she and her friends are using, #ThisStruggleIsReal.

My last post was on #DreamingBig which I've admitted is a challenge for me.

So all of this comes to together in my mind like a nice stew, the flavors mixing together over a slow heat -- the heat of life and living with intention.

What I'm left with is finding how all of these hashtags come together to make a great soup, #StayPositive #ThisStruggleIsReal #DreamBig.

or am I suffering from #TooManyHashTags?

At first they appear as if this soup won’t work. How can they all be true at once? But then I had the one ingredient I seem to be missing too much in my life, #Hope.

With this final ingredient my soup is starting to smell "AWESOME!"

Keeping positive is a challenge to my critical, pragmatic thinking engine. Dreaming Big is a challenge to my critical, pragmatic thinking engine. Both are self-created obstacles. Yet at the same time, #ThisStruggleIsReal for me. When I try to force myself into thinking that my self-created obstacles should be nothing to overcome, when I discount the value this thinking engine has provided me in my life, when I try to force changes to behavior while still holding onto the beliefs of a lifetime, and when I act like what I've done and been in the past has not served me well, my mind starts to break into warring factions. Self-doubt is born from the confusion that is manifest.

This is when hope pulls me from the confusion. Hope to me is the energy of acceptance and patience. Hope brings calmness to my life and gives me a moment to pause. Hope reminds me that all will be for my highest and best. Hope is trust that my future self will find how all of these ingredients do in fact come together in what can only be called Magnifique.

I'm reminded of something I heard Amma once say when she was offering advice to someone, "This of course is easy for me to say as my tongue has no bones."

I took from that statement that even though her direction was clear and obvious she understood that for the person, #ThisStruggleIsReal. If Amma can have patience and understanding for those who struggle from what are obvious, self-induced issues then I can too.

This is my struggle. The struggle to remain positive when looking at how in my life I've trained my brain to question and point out the flaws in things. To keep in problem solving when I feel like falling into despair at the very idea of the changes.

I will continue to #StayPositive, #DreamBig, and at the same time know that #ThisStruggleIsReal.

Thank you for participating in my life through the exchange of ideas. Bless you!