She rolled down the window, and let it go…

The Tyranny of the Couch

Carolyn was driving along a quiet stretch of highway, daydreaming, when an intriguing idea formed in her consciousness. The idea was exciting. Tempting at first. But then made her anxious. Nope. She opened her window and let it go.

After returning home she quickly was knee deep in work. Some weeks later, coming home from work late one night, the idea popped up again, and held her attention. She pushed it away. It didn’t seem do-able. And, if she followed through, it would definitely mess with her orderly life. For what? Following her idea into territory with no guarantees. She couldn’t have it. She pushed it away again.

(I’ve talked to lots of ‘Carolyn’s’ with this dilemma. Good people. With great ideas — but following closely behind are the questions, the doubt, the possible impact and upheaval. Work, time and energy.)

The couch is so cozy, I think I’ll stay right here, thank you very much. THE idea — to end something– leave an uninspiring job or dying relationship. Or fresh beginnings– a new adventure, a new career, look for a new romance, take a year off to pursue a dream … the variables are endless. The common denominator, something new is calling you.

How do you know when to listen?

1. It’s an idea that resonates. Does your heart expand when you think about it? Do you feel a sense of relief? Check in closely with how you feel.

2. The idea is persistent. It keeps appearing in one way or another.

3. It is precisely the thing that might shake up ‘your orderly life’. It makes you a bit anxious, somewhat afraid, leads you to doubt yourself. All of this is necessary TO GET YOUR ATTENTION.

Carolyn was not a lazy person (she worried that she was). What was going on for her was an internal narrative that didn’t align with who she really was. She was in conflict with herself, and not completely aware of it. Will she be lured to the comfort of the couch and stay put? Or will she do the work necessary to create a bigger, better version of her life story.

Come on adventurers, put your boots on and let’s go!

How do you cope?

Life can certainly confound you. Whether it is the nightly news, cantankerous relatives or incompetent bosses, you feel your blood pressure rise with each episode. Could you use some simple tools to use when you’re feeling stressed, discouraged or angry about something you have no power to change?

Try the 1-2-3 method using R-R-C. Remember these 3 steps to shift ‘consciousness’ — to move your mind through mental quicksand toward empowered uplifting thoughts. Getting stuck in the anger and stress is not productive. Paying attention to stress, discouragement or anger responses is important information to prompt you toward action. Here are three steps. R.R.C. Easy because you already have this.

  1. Reframe. Pause and ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” “What is good about this?” There is something to be grateful for in every moment, in every situation. There are things to learn within every challenge.Buddhist’s call it ‘Beginner’s mind.’   “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
  2. Revive. Remember past success, past happiness. Feel what that was like, and transfer that feeling to this moment.
  3. Compose. What is the version of your best self in this situation? Who do you want to be right now? Then re-calibrate into the best you.  Consummate professional. Loving individual. Empathic co-inhabitant of planet earth. Courageous human. You’ve got this.

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