Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Age of the Unthinkable....

Last week I did a presentation to Community College women (staff) who were at their summer conference. The focus was on wellness and managing stress in these chaotic times. I was sharing the Life Puzzle model as an example of living in the present moment while accepting that things are constantly changing. I shared that the Life Puzzle is a framework that enables you to be 'resilient'. As you become accustomed to recognizing that 'adding more pieces' over the course of your lifetime is normal and joyous it gives you the capacity to deal with what comes. This runs contrary to how many of think we're supposed to live--getting our lives fixed, safe and secure--and unchanging.

Coincidentally I was reading a book by Joshua Cooper Ramo, The Age of the Unthinkable. This book discusses the reality that our world is changing so much that what we once thought 'unthinkable'--suicide bombers, the Internet, another great Depression and 7 billion people to name a few--now is all around us. It is a an 'insecure' world and try as we might to apply old ways of addressing these fast changes--what he's discovered is that if we're going to create 'deep-security', we must change the way we see the world. We must give ourselves permission to try new ways of responding. At about page 100 I thought--he's talking about being a Life Puzzle maker!

As I continued reading--I could see that he is confronting the 0-5 side of the Choosing Continuum--the reactive, passive, maintain status-quo world where, frankly, most people live and most of our systems--medical, business, education, law and even our families support and reinforce. And he's saying--that's not going to cut it for our future---it is time to switch directions and become proactive, empowered and self-responsible. In Life Puzzle terms--that means going to the 6-10 side of the Choosing Continuum and building a life that that you create and take responsiblity for--day by day and piece by piece.

Now, of course, this book was addressing the big picture, big systems---like governments solving problems or financial systems redesigning. But remember, those big systems are made up of lots of individual people. If we're going to build what Ramo calls a 'deep-secure' world--it starts with each and everyone of us, individually taking the step into Life Puzzle making.

So, if you ever wondered if it was time to jump out of the 0-5 status-quo and into the 6-10, create your own future---in the Age of the Unthinkable...that time is now! The Life Puzzle gives you a framework on which to do this---a piece at a time with the whole YOU in mind!

I ended my talk at the summer conference with this line--"The only security in life is insecurity--learn to love it". I could see the audience faces scrunching their eyebrows at a phrase that seems to be an oxymoron. I know what they're thinking because the first time I heard this--I rebeled against it and thought--no, that can't be right. But it is. When you really get this, then no matter what stress or change occurs--you realize you can accept and deal with it in the now.

That's what living in the Age of the Unthinkable is saying too. That as much as we might want to try to control the world--a better strategy is to accept that change is all around us and be part of creating the solutions when necessary. For too long we've sat passively by and thought someone else would take care of everything, fix it all and make it safe. But with systems crashing down around us despite billions of dollars invested to prevent any changes--we can now see that this is a false security. If you want to create what Ramo call deep-security--wake up, become resilient (Life Puzzle maker), empower yourself and be ready for whatever changes show up. Because they will be showing up!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The 10K rule results in a lot more happiness!

"So, step out of yourself and look down on this event from 10,000 feet", I said to my client, Gina*. She had called expressing hurt and anger about an experience she'd had with a co-worker and wanted to know what to do about it. *name changed

She responded---"I know you want me to be the 'bigger person here', but then she gets away with what she did to me and that just makes me more angry!"

"No, I answered, I want you to be an adult instead of the emotional child. Because right now, the 'little hurt child' is running this event over and over in your mind, isn't she? And I know you've told me before that when this type of thing occurs--it spirals out into overeating, withdrawing from the world and isolating your self."

Gina responded, "Well, yes, but shouldn't there be a right and wrong here? She was rude and that's not acceptable to me. Why does she get to do the immature behavior, but I don't?"

A moment of silence please while we all chuckle over that.

"Gina, I said, "you don't come to me for counseling so I can encourage you to stay stuck in old and useless patterns. You come to break this cycle--and that's why you need to begin practicing the 10K rule."

"When events like this happen--and you have a 'feeling' of 'hurt--I want you to feel that feeling---and then instead of the old pattern of nursing this hurt, wanting to withdraw--I want you to stop, deep breath and step outside of this event and look down on it from 10,000 ft. Look down on this event as a mature adult instead of the hurt child and as you make this shift--ask your mature adult SELF--how do I want to manage this hurt feeling instead of letting this hurt feeling manage me (ie, nursing it, running this event over and over in your mind, wanting to withdraw).

"What you'll get from this vantage point Gina is the ability to see that this 'event' is just an event. It is not something that has to ruin my day, have me figuring out ways to seek revenge etc., Instead, from the 10K view, I feel the temporary feeling of 'hurt', I realize I can let it go and then get focused on positive things I want to do with my day. "
Also, Gina, from this view, you can also see the other person and see that they're in their own 'melodrama' and you were just a 'blip on the screen' event that gotcaught up in it. When her melodrama crashed into you, then you created your own melodrama that wants to crash back into her. What you'll see is that everyone is letting the 'emotional child' respond vs. the rational adult. The world of angst that's created produces a lose-lose situation.

We need far more consciousness Gina--and responding to life's event as a mature adult frees up your life to be lived fully instead of chasing your tail over these on-going events. Because for sure Gina...there will be more and more events like this. I can guarantee it! But if you begin practicing the 10K rule--and separate out and begin managing your feelings, you'll avoid a lot of grief.

Managing our feelings doesn't mean blocking or numbing--what it means is we "feel the feeling' and then we step out to the 10K level and begin managing it. Yes, it means managing hurt--but it also means 'managing' rapt joy of watching a sunset--feel the feeling, let the warmth run through your body--but you don't stay stuck there forever and never move on--you recognize the joy, from the 10K view, you see it's part of a temporary event, honor it and move on. Same with hurt--you feel the feeling, let the angst 'bubble up', but you don't stay stuck there either. You move to the 10K view, see its part of a temporary event, honor it and move on!

Unfortunately, Gina--most of us do get stuck in our hurt/anger feelings. We take it personally, respond like the wounded child and then we waste so much of our life turning a temporary event into our lives, running it over and over again in our minds....but not moving on.

So, practice the 10K rule, feel the feeling, manage it and move on to live life!