Life from Essence

It’s so funny… a year ago when I engaged the services of a Life Coach I didn’t see this coming.  Who would know that I could become a Life Coach?

In this new space I work with individuals who are looking to make a shift in their lives (friendships, romance, work, money, family, dreams). What I do is partner with them to make it happen by providing them with tools, reflection and accountability to have them get out of their own way. This has them get past their obstacles and step into an authentic and empowered reality of their own design.

The beautiful thing about this is, I get to practice what I preach.  In order to walk with others as they get their lives together, I need to be getting my life together.  I too have a coach.  In order to work with others to get real, I too must get real.

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In the beginning of the coaching relationship we have the Essence Conversation.  It is a place where we examine our automatic ways of being, our fears, our survival mechanisms and our comfort zone – all instruments of a fear-driven life.  The foundation of coaching is partnering to design and to live an authentic life.  But in order for you to be authentic, you have to first know who you are, right?  This is part of the purpose of the conversation – to mine our essence from the hills of our lives.

Today, in celebration of who I am, I introduce to you my Essence:

JOY : a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated.

PRESENCE: the state or fact of being present, as with others… Stately or distinguished bearing… The impressive manner or appearance of a person.

PURPOSE: a person’s sense of resolve or determination.

MAGNET: a person or thing that has a powerful attraction.

GODDESS: a woman whose great charm and beauty arouses adoration.

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When I began this journey I was given two warnings.

1. You will struggle in essence.  Living from essence strips you naked of your armor and puts you in a place of great vulnerability.  It will make you very sensitive to rejection because what is being rejected is the authentic you.  It’s OK when our survival mechanism is rejected!  It was never really us to begin with!

2. There are people in your life who will reject you from essence.  They have been friends with your ego.  They are attached to the image they have of you.  They do not understand your journey or your struggle.  Not only will you struggle, but life around you will resist the change.

This can look like a major adjustment with struggles through emotions that get dredged up or it can be a gentle realization.  I’ve always been more of an epiphany-learner and so the consequences of this new consciousness has slammed into me like a train. I never understood either of these things until this month.  I am raw and naked and there are a few (thankfully very few) people in my life who are in resistance to the changes.

By the grace of God as I grow into someone who works with others to get their lives together, my life will be working itself together too.

Bulletproof Babes

We were taught to be independent, strong, self-sufficient, poised and in-charge.  We were told by our mothers, themselves the daughters of bra-burning times, to suck up our fears, manage our emotions, never let the bastards see us cry and never ask for help as long as we can help ourselves.  Lessons were passed on that high-maintenance is for bimbos and dignity and class cannot co-exist with it.  Being demanding is as bad as promiscuity in the estimation of our lady-teachers.  We are to serve with strength and selflessness without thought to our needs and in return we will be respected and loved.  We are a wellspring of power, woman hear us roar, and we can supply the whole world with what it needs.  The ironies that were passed down from grandmothers, aunties, teachers, family friends and mothers abound.

We associate being honest about our needs with images of weak, victimized, or morally bankrupt women.  And so, to not be seen as a doormat, a loose woman or a gold digger we put on a persona of needlessness that then results in us becoming more… NEEDY.  Think about it.  If we deprive ourselves of food telling ourselves that we don’t need it don’t we become more and more… hungry?

But there comes a time when a Bulletproof Babe says “So what if I have needs?  Of course I do!  I’m human!”  We come around to the question of how are we to expect ourselves to provide selflessly for the needs of others when our needs are not met?  Even in the airplane instructions before take off we are instructed to put on our own mask first before helping the person next to us, child or no child.

I am learning through my own experience as a woman that low maintenance women, like strong buildings and towers, without support and care suffer in structure, appearance and strength from neglect.  Without support and TLC they crumble, crack under pressure and become inhabited by bitterness.  They lose their value – how they value themselves diminishes and is then projected out to what value others see.  Others react to what they see, convincing her further of the lie that started her shrinking view of herself in the first place.

But it starts with her.  What does a guy have to offer a girl who refuses to acknowledge she has needs and flaws and vulnerability and needs someone to lean on once in a while?  How many times do we Bulletproof Babes find ourselves lonely and disappointed because a friend wasn’t able to read our minds and be there for us because we didn’t know how to tell them how to support us and that we needed support in the first place?  How many times have we let a slight pass and pass again and pass again until we blow, totally surprising all around us?  Why does it have to fall apart and be blatantly obvious and beyond the point of deniability for us to accept a helping hand?

We don’t have to be bulletproof to be beautiful, rigid to be respected, nor do we have to be low-maintenance in order to capture the attention of someone who could love us.  These are the ways we trick ourselves into being someone who attracts human leeches, persons who seek to take without giving, because that is what we put ourselves forward as willing to accept.  Think about it… “Oh she doesn’t need this from me.  She just wants someone to give and give and give to.  She doesn’t expect anything back, bless her little cotton socks.  Goody!  Free ride!  Why would I EVER leave?”  Except, of course, we don’t want that type around either, do we?

To the beautiful Bulletproof Babes out there, let us support eachother and drop the act.  Being strong doesn’t mean having no needs.  You deserve to have your needs met, not ignored.  But the first step to making that happen is to not ignore them yourself.

Feminism (Motivationalpostersonline.blogspot.com)

The Relationship Project

Most of you know by now that I have a life coach.  She’s amazing, she meets with me on Skype once a week from New York and we go through my request for coaching for the week.  It is the one hour in every week that I have put into my schedule to think about myself, my wellbeing and my lifestyle.  It’s funny what a little bit of consciousness can do!

In the beginning I signed myself up to a project that she would hold me accountable to work toward.  It was a goal that if I died tomorrow and hadn’t reached it I would feel I had failed.  I took a week to think and LIGHTBULB… my book.  A little later in the month she asked about my week and I mentioned meeting a guy I knew in Miami airport for drinks while we waited for our flights to the Bahamas for me and Trinidad for him.  She clapped her hands and said I smell a RELATIONSHIP PROJECT!

Ahhh… no.  Please don’t make me do it!  Oh my goodness I have never rejected something so fiercely in my life!  I had so many excuses why this couldn’t work.

  1. It takes the fun out of meeting people to set goals and timelines.  (As if I was having any fun on my couch with my dogs day in and and day out.)
  2. Making a plan to have a boyfriend by such and such a date makes love artificial and manufactured.
  3. How on earth can I find one date a week on an island this small and polluted by irresponsibility?
  4. This is the thinking of a MAN.  How unfeminine and against everything I hold to be dear about femininity to turn hunter.
  5. Who needs relationships anyway?

And so I resisted.  And resisted.  And ignored it for about two months.

Funny thing about life coaches.  They don’t let you get away.  So when she came back to me in February and said Bushy, what on earth are you running from?  It should be FUN!  Go and talk to some of your friends about it and see what they say.

Girlfriend Feedback:  Bushy do it!  It could be fun.  You don’t have to commit to making it happen just commit to the process.  You could learn a lot about yourself that way.

Manfriend Feedback:  Sheeeit Bushy.  That’s what I do!  How many people do I need to meet in one week to get a date.  How many dates to I need to know if she’s for me.  We’ll have to go out on the town together!  (ick)  You need to get off the couch.  You are too young to be a hermit and I have been worried about you for some time.

Six months of silence.  This is the first the Singlestream has heard of this because… well… I dunno why.  But I STILL HATE IT.  Ignoring the ick comments of the man friend (who I in no way wish to emulate) I decided let me try this out without taking it too seriously.

And so the learning began.  There have been ups and downs and stops and starts and I am probably as far from my goal as ever but the things I have learned!

    • Early on I learned that I am terrified of intimacy.  A guy who  I met through the course of my goal setting became a very dear friend.  One day, in the presence of a lot of other people, he asked me to please pull an ingrown hair out of his neck.  I fought with myself saying no at first under the guise of not having my glasses and then gave in with a pep-talk-to-self (For goodness sake Bushy he’s asked you to take a needle to his neck, not to give you his hand in freakin marriage!).  Head on my lap, needle out, I proceeded to assist my neglected friend with a problem.  By the end of it I was shaking.  To his credit he said nothing.  But the shock of the intimacy of that innocent moment shook me for days.  I have my theories around how this particular fear developed but that for another time and he is safely in the hands of some weak woman somewhere.
    • I learned that I set myself up to fail.  I surround myself with unavailable men.  They make excellent friends but each of them has a reason why I would never keep him around.  He’s married.  Or he’s entangled with his recently broken off relationship.  Or he’s a business associate.  Or he’s four feet tall.  Or he’s… you get the picture.  It feeds the context that there are no good single men in the country.  It serves me by proving me right.  But I’ve learned to take responsibility for that;  I SURROUND MYSELF with the unavailable.  I am a different person with the available – prickly, sharp, intimidating, or simply distant.  The ones who don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell I am safe with and am completely at home in myself around.  The available meet my fortress of walls.
    • Conditions of satisfaction are important.  In starting this out I was invited to write out my conditions of satisfaction.  As I was at the time going through the hiring process at work, it easily took the format of my Job Description and my Person Specification Sheet.  The sheet has three main columns – the qualities I cannot do without in a partner in column 1, the qualities I would like but are optional in column 2, and in column 3 the vices I absolutely cannot live with.  Smoking for instance.  And crazy ex wives.  Habitual lateness.  Illiteracy.  The attributes and vices fall into categories – abilities, circumstances, interests, and so on.  It has been an exciting tool to use and minimizes the waste of ones time – if something shows up in column 3 on the first date then NEXT.
    • In the process I have learned just what my patterns are around relationships and men.  I’ve learned that I tend to jump in with both feet and jump quite quickly right back out with both feet (but I might have known that before).  I’ve learned that I expect men to run – they always do – and that I have built a context and expectation around men that they will never be able to cope with the power of my personality so at some point they are gonna duck and run (or cheat).  I’ve learned that I expect men to be irresponsible and that I have a tendency to look down my nose at them as a member of a superior race.  Truth is it is rare that I’m proven wrong.  But that is also my fault – I surround myself with men who prove me right!
    • I have a lot of junk around my own strength.  If power could create a complex, I’ve got it.  For instance, my man in Iraq.  I mean, I know I’m a powerhouse and I know it blows the minds of people who don’t know me well, but deep down I’m a pretty sensitive and insightful person.  This is the me that unavailable men get to meet.  This is the me that my dogs are glad to see wake up in the morning and scratch their ears before I even get out of bed.  This is the me that I am in my comfort zone – my house, my office, my grandmother’s hammock, anywhere but on a date.
  • I am responsible.   For all of it.  This is perhaps the biggest thing for me.  I am responsible for who I am around people and from there what kind of people I attract to be around me.  I am responsible if I don’t meet my quota of meeting five new men this week because how on earth am I supposed to meet five guys sat on my own couch?  I am responsible for the me that others get to know and whether or not it is an authentic person.  I am responsible to step outside of my comfort zone and to be open to melting away my contexts and my expectations.  I am learning through this terrible terrible project that responsibility belongs to me and it is my duty to own it.

But I’m still resisting the hell out of it.  This week two of the men I met (on a night out with the ick manfriend) were so OUT THERE in column three that I was like HOT DAMN I’m better off single!

But next week I’m gonna be brought right back to the document and asked to give an account for how well I’ve done to meet my goals. HELP ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5 Little gems…

… dug out of me in Life Coaching sessions that have surprised me.

  1. I am not a commitment phobe as I have always thought, but quite the opposite.  I am a commitment junkie.  Totally addicted to the stuff.  But, as with all addictions, this one is terribly unhealthy.  I over-commit and then drive myself into the sick-bed/the grave/some form of insanity in order to get the impossible done.  The worse thing that can happen to me in these commitments is for me to succeed.  Because then I set a new, stupidly-inhuman goal and go all out to kill myself to meet that one too.  And succeeding this, there is always a new level of insanity to conquer.
  2. I am hiding myself in work.  There is no balance.  Time poverty has been taught to me and accepted by me as a virtue.  If I keep this up there will be no humanity left within me for other sentient beings to relate to!
  3. I hold on to hurts.  Doing this only succeeds in hurting me longer.  This is not a surprise to me as some of the other five gems have been but I have historically had No. Clue. At. All. how to let things go.  It isn’t natural for me to forgive and forget those who do not actively and contritely seek my forgiveness and forgetfulness.  I have to teach myself how to do it.  Follow a difficult and disciplined process to purge myself.
  4. I am in love with my own essence!  Falling in love with myself and my own gifts, my own unique reflection of God himself, is a process that is bringing me much joy.
  5. I have let myself go.  My wellbeing is way down on my list of priorities.  Something has got to give.  Panic attacks and migraines, drinking and breakouts, insomnia and weight fluctuations are all pointing to abject neglect.  My neglect.  Of me.  And this has to change.

Some things already have!  Friendships, pastimes, focuses have all started to shift.  But more will come and I am very excited!

Resolution over…?

 

This happened very quickly didn't it?

The Singlestream has been silent for some time.  There are reasons for this.

THE FIRST is that Bushlings has been consumed with work.  It has invaded my dreams with deductibles and profit shares, has usurped the place of writing in my mornings with blackberry checks and emails, and completely depleted my energy stores. Many a 3 a.m. has found me fully dressed and fast asleep on my sofa where I took a stop to ‘catch my breath’ with Lola curled up next to me and Julius’ hairy tail in my face.  Just begging for a New Year’s Resolution is my work-life balance.

THE SECOND is that I have engaged a life coach.  She is in New York, we meet on skype weekly, and she rocks.  The first task we zoomed in on was my work-life balance in situation number 1 above as part of my general foundation of wellbeing.  But as so much heavy stuff has shifted to the surface and so many deeply personal discoveries have been made, I have struggled to write in my customary flippant voice.  There’s a lot of work to be done on me and my New Year’s Resolution is going to be packed tight with things dug out of this particularly fertile self-excavation.

But THE THIRD and scariest of all is my hair.  It has grown and grown hidden by bunches of tight curls.  The longer it grows the curlier it gets and the curls bounce up at their loosest around my ear lobes.  I don’t know how I got the great idea to take the blowdryer to it.  And the flat iron.  But BAM there it was.  Straight as an arrow and brushing my shoulders!  The time has come and my Resolution is complete. 

What do I do NOW?!

Sounds like another New Year’s Resolution?  We shall see…