Saturday, June 1, 2013

Who Will You Be When You Grow Up?

When I was in first grade I remember I wanted to be a nurse. Not sure why, other then in the 1960s, that was one of the acceptable vocations that I knew was common for a woman to be when they became an adult. When I think about it now, what I intuitively realized then, was that I wanted to serve others.

When I was in 5th grade, I wanted to be an artist. Not sure why, other then I loved to draw and create things. What I know now was that being creative was always important to me.

When I was in 7th and 8th grade, I felt that I didn’t fit into the world of my peers. I loved church camp and being outdoors. Where I didn’t fit in was what I considered as silly conversations that weren’t important in the big picture of things. What I know now, but didn’t have vocabulary for then, nor an understanding, was that the spiritual and purpose of life was important to me, at least from an intuitive level. I just didn’t call it that.

When I was in high school, I would hear peers talk about the parties and concerts they would go to, and who threw up or got hit by a flying wine bottle. Really?! Why would someone want to pay to get hit by a wine bottle at a concert? What I didn’t know then was that, intuitively, meaning and purpose in life was bigger than the moment.

What do all of these have in common, other than recognizing a developmental process? Somehow, somewhere, I was taught to listen to what is important to me. Even though I am not a nurse, I recognized in 1st grade the desire to serve others. Even though I am not an artist, I still love to be creative. And I now have an understanding of the richness of my spiritual experiences and nurture and encourage others to grow their own understanding of their life and purpose as a vocation.

These are the types of experiences that have led me to live the life I love, as a minister, a life coach and a mental health coach. This comes from listening to myself through the years. This calls me to continue to listen to who God has created me to be and how God has called me to serve.

How has God guided you through your life? Who has God called you to be? How are you called to serve? Who will you be when you grow up? Are you listening? 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Are You Listening to Yourself?

This past weekend I went on a wonderful women's retreat to a beach retreat center with a group of women from my church. I have been anticipating it for many weeks. I have been anticipating it because I knew that it would be a time for relaxing, growth and building meaningful and energy-giving relationships. As I was thinking about that this morning, I began to ask myself...what makes one experience, or the anticipation of the experience, energy-giving, life-giving, and what tends to sap the energy out of me??

As I thought about what I expected, I thought about the lack of responsibility to lead. In my vocation, I am expected to lead much of the time. I also thought about the fact that most of those going were going with an openness to experience, to learn, and to grow.

So, then, I started to think about what hinders me from being this way other times, other days. It isn't just about being in leadership. I love my work and experience as a minister, a counselor, a life coach. And, I can be open and learn so much from those with whom I have this responsibility. So what is it? If I anticipate resistance, if I am afraid of not meeting up to someone else's standards, if I am afraid of not being liked for the decisions I make or the things I say. This is when I start closing down before I even get into the experience. When I go into my day anticipating conflict among those I am leading, or even simply those that I am with, I need to be so aware of how this is impacting me, and the choices I want or need to make to stay on course in the direction that is right for me, for the purpose that is best for my role, for who I am at the time.

So, I ask you... what gives you energy and what shuts down your energy? Several questions to think about to stay self aware of yourself, to stay aware of those around you and to stay on course with what make you true to yourself and your purpose...this is an important part of what is called Emotional Intelligence.

1. Are you aware of what gives you energy and what takes energy out of you?

2.  What shuts you down from being available or open to others? 

3. In any given situation/moment, what are you aware about yourself in how you feel, what you are thinking about yourself and how your body feels in relationship to what you are experiencing?

4.  Did you enter today with anticipation of excitement or dread? How do you understand those feelings? What options do you have to explore that?

Self awareness is the first step towards a strong emotional intelligence and for living life in a way that is energy giving, not energy depleting. This is where we can find that sense of life balance and confidence to be open and grow in strength and character. There are many ways to explore this for yourself, including a close friend or family member, a spiritual leader, a mentor or someone with life experiences you respect. Working with a life coach is one way of addressing your personal growth and goals with intentionality.

I love  the  pieces that are marketed these days. To experience that life really IS good, one must be both self aware and be open to new growth and learning, both about oneself and about and with others around them. This is an important step towards meeting your life goals and living with meaning and purpose that is right for who you are.

So, what gives you energy and what keeps you from being open to growth and living fully yourself? Listen to your body, your heart, your mind. Listen to what is going on around you and how it is impacting you. Listen!