Posts Tagged ‘self help’

Tis the season for self reflection, goal setting, and let’s admit it, jealousy and competition. Whether we are talking about sibling rivalry flaring up at holiday functions, competition for bonuses at work, wondering why we didn’t get invited to that holiday party, or are our own worst enemy in the goal-setting and self-reflection department; the green-eyed monster is as evergreen as that needle-shedding star holder we put up each year.

I like to think that my experiences in open relationships prepared me to foresee and handle my envy in a healthy and constructive manner.  But the truth is, I can suddenly find myself seething with the angry-hating-blaming-scathing-gossiping-fearful bullshit as much as anyone.  And being currently devoid of lovers, or even wanting to enter into monogamy (gasp) doesn’t give me a free pass.  Instead, as we approach the end of the year, I find my jealousies bubbling up around my art instead.  Do you want the bare-naked, ugly truth of what’s been happening in my head?  Ready or not, here it is:

Why is this or that person more successful than I am?  Why haven’t I won any awards lately? (Besides the fact that I haven’t entered any competitions??)

Why is it so much easier for that person to master that move that I’ve been struggling with for years? (Have you actually been focusing all of your energy on that move?)

Why is that person thinner than me, when I work out so much? (Because they are them, and they are you.  A little self acceptance please!)

Why is it so hard for me to commit to a weekly writing schedule?  Or finish the freaking book I’ve been working on for a decade? And why is that person who can’t even spell properly getting published? (Let’s look a little more honestly at your time commitments, shall we?)

Why was that person offered that job/gig that was half-promised to me, or that I feel like I suggested/inspired?  (Uh, did you even really want that job? Was it really promised to you? Did you really deserve it?)

If only I had regular access to a studio (and/or a car), I could polish and choreograph the ideas that I have more easily.  I’d have more time, more energy, be able to make more money.   IT’S NOT FAIR! (If it’s not working, you’ll need to figure out a new solution.  Time to start saving for a car…)

And even, yes, why is dating suddenly such a barren, non-existent thing in my life? What’s wrong with me? At least I used to just have trouble keeping a partner, now I can’t even get a date? (Do you even want to date?  Do you have time?)

Jealous Cat

For me, the end of the year is about looking back at what I’ve learned and forward to what needs to happen next.  This inevitably involves some self comparisons to people that have accomplished more, less, or specifically what I wish I had, in the past year.  I spent a glorious evening last week wallowing in my envy and self-pity.  It felt good like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese feel good.  Like a comforting, unhealthy indulgence.  And then the defeated, depressed hangover kicks in.  And luckily, my experiences confronting jealousy on the dating playing field, and a little kick in the ass from my best friend who got sick of listening to my whining, came in helpful after all.

The realizations that I came up with in delving into my artistic career path insecurities is remarkably identical to what I’ve encountered before in romantic situations.  Jealousy seems to come from 3 emotional sources: Fear, Envy, or Defeat.  Which, looking deeper, means it signals 1 or more of 3 things: That you care about something or someone deeply; that you aren’t on the right path to get, or are not being clear about whatever it is that you want; or that something about your current tactics/habits isn’t working.

For my artistic journey, identifying what of these factors is triggering each jealousy has cleared the way to better planning, scheduling, and goal setting overall.  First, that while I think that I want certain jobs/gigs, they may actually not be right for me, and even be a hinderance on my overall broader goals.  What I’m really wanting is the acceptance of my peers when being considered for a job.  For instance, right now I have exactly the right balance of teaching and creating that I need.  What I need is a little more time to work on my personal projects, without abandoning the work that I do with my troupe.  It would also seem that I want an artistic partner-the right artistic partner-someone who inspires me to work harder and who I can communicate well with, and who commits to meeting and working with me at an equal level.  Without examining what exact aspects of being passed over for certain jobs was making me jealous, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with clearer goals and needs moving forward.  Nor would I be able to realize that I don’t even want some of the jobs I’m jealous of, in order to focus on working harder to get the ones that I do want.

Next, I needed to realize that if I’ve been working on something for a long time and its not coming together, then something in my approach obviously needs to change.  Perhaps I need to be honest with myself about how much effort and commitment I’m actually putting towards what goals and re-prioritize.  Maybe I need to be a little gentler with myself in the realm of how much one person can realistically accomplish in what amount of time.  Or you know, I could ask some experts for help and guidance.  Probably all of the above wouldn’t hurt.  Without examining this area, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a new game plan and I wouldn’t have the excitement and fresh inspiration of the new challenge that I’m taking on for 2014 (I know, you can barely wait to hear more, right?).  I’d still be defeated and self-pitying, eating mac and cheese with my cat.

Finally, I may need a certain amount of patience.  Like when I sit wondering why I haven’t been asked on a date for a whopping two months (seriously, that seems so long!), I have to admit that I didn’t want to be.  I hate the institution of dating.  I like meeting people naturally, being friends, hanging out, getting to know each other.  But, I’m working on my art right now, which involves more alone time, physical work and exhaustion, and self reflection than hanging out drinking and socializing.  And I’m loving the friendships that I’m building that are about training and creating more anyways.  So, “yes” Envy, thanks for coming over to visit and all, but you can take your leave now.  I need to get back to work.


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So, thanks to 29toLife, for offering this challenge on their blog, which according to the year of “yes,” I now must accept.  The challenge: Replace 5 bad habits with 5 good habits for one week and report back the results.  Okay, doesn’t sound so hard right?

Yeah, well…if it were easy, I probably wouldn’t have these bad habits in the first place right?  Okay, so let’s see.  It’s Monday…beginning of the week…so what should we work on this week?

Bad Habit 1: Snapping at my boyfriend, Replacement Habit: Complimenting him

Bad Habit 2: Drinking wine to relax at night, Replacement Habit: Deep, contortion stretching

Bad Habit 3: Not answering the phone, Replacement Habit: Answering the phone

Bad Habit 4: Judging people on first impressions, Replacement Habit: Say hello to people, smile

Bad Habit 5: Spending on, or acquiring stuff I don’t need, Replacement Habit: Donate, throw away or trade something everyday, remove one bag of stuff from storage unit

This is, of course, in addition to my new ‘schedule’ of working (writing/looking for jobs) every weekday morning/afternoon and training my body daily.  Otherwise known as spending a FT schedule on my art and seeing what happens, since I don’t have a job yet anyways. ;)

Alright. See you this weekend guys!

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I work hard, I train for hours. I’ve thought about strength vs. endurance vs. stretching. But I’ve never really thought about how to really train to be an elite performer. How to train to be able to produce the consistent show that I want, without all the stress and nerves. It turns out that the answer is habit. Each piece should be so ingrained that when the music starts, my body reacts.  No thought or worry or doubt left, only the desire to make it a little better than the last time by eliminating the self doubt or shakiness or misfirings of too much adrenaline.

I’ve never been very good at habits though, or will power, or discipline…whatever you want to call it. When told to do simple repetitive tasks, my brain screams in a petulant whine, “why?!”

And sometimes, I know “why” and sometimes I don’t, butit doesn’t much matter to my level or commitment to being disciplined.  No where is this more apparent than in my feelings about making my bed in the morning. Why should I? Especially when I happen to love crawling into the messy nest I call bed at night, since I work and eat from my bed, relax and watch movies from my bed. Why would I bother making it to rumple it up again? Ever?

Well it seems that there may just be psychological value to the act.  It is a signal to your brain to start your day, to wake up, to get up and go!  It is also a habit that I currently don’t have and according to the Power of Habit, the best way to conquer other habits like not drinking so much, getting to the gym every morning, writing 5 pages a day is by changing something like making my bed.  A “keystone habit.

At least I think it is.  In reality, finding the keystone habit(s) that will knock down my bad habits and build up my good ones, is way more tricky and confusing.  For instance, will daily meditation help relieve stress, create awareness and prevent over drinking?  In theory.  Or will waking up early to write or workout make it easier to wind down and fall asleep at night rather than end the day with a glass of wine?  Maybe.

Alright, let’s break it down.  3 things: small wins, new platforms and contagious excellence.  So, making the bed, writing, working out and meditating are all small wins I suppose.  Unless of course its a day of writer’s block, a bad day at the gym, or a schedule that keeps you pushing snooze more often than you accomplish these things, I suppose.  New platforms…okay, I guess that’s the beginning idea.  I imagine my pieces in my head.  I do this before I go to bed, when I wake up, right before performing, etc.  And I also practice them over and over in real life.  I make the pieces themselves a habit.  That part I get.  Part three, contagious excellence.  I’m a little unclear about if this means a culture of excellence by implementing the first two principles, or if it means to surround yourself with the people, environment, etc. that will encourage and support your excellence.  Though, I suppose both are pretty good points.

So, maybe just waking up at a certain time each day and picking workout, write, clean or meditate would be a good keystone habit.  And maybe the freedom to pick from one each day will keep me from sabotaging my new habit with boredom.  Of course, not picking workout for my first hour of consciousness doesn’t mean that I skip a workout that day all together, it just means that perhaps I should try doing one of those four things before I get up and open the computer and the emails and the distraction.  Possibly.  But definitely worth a try.

Well, glad we got that sorted.  I’m still not entirely sure I understand how to identify a keystone habit, besides retroactively of course.  But at least I have something new to try.  And I’m excited to be so polished on my pieces that I never have to get nervous again.  Well, at least not too nervous.  ;)

And for the cute kitten…something a little different.  These photos were taken of my very own cat Evie sneaking some tofu cream cheese.  The way she went crazy over it caused Ryan to stage a pretend Intervention with her as if she was on a much more illicit drug than tofu cream cheese.  I wonder what Evie’s keystone habit would be?  Morning catnip fueled play sessions?  That might interfere with my meditation…

Discovery of the illicit material…


…the high takes over…”clean your nose, Evie!”


Ry’s stern but loving “intervention”


A much happier, healthier Evie post rehab.





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I hate disappointment! I hate it! I hate failing, and being wrong, and messing up, and feeling left out, and having depression, and being sad, or hurt or angry! I hate when things don’t go my way!

I hate that I’ve spoiled myself into thinking I can have everything my way!

I hate that I need so much alone time and that I feel lonely when I finally get it and am ready to be in the world and everyone seems to have forgotten me! I hate feeling invisible. I hate feeling pressured or obligated. I hate being uncomfortable and bored and annoyed.

I hate feeling small, humble, beaten.

I hate the hustle and bustle. I hate the status quo.  And I hate even more feeling like I’m on the outside, looking in.  I hate the tedium, the rules, the schedule that everyone else is on daily, monthly, yearly that I never seem to match.

I hate the judgement. Yours, that ignorant person’s over there, and always, most terribly my own.

I hate that I’m sitting outside my coffee shop having a tantrum on my blog because I’m too proud, or not ready, or too hurt to do what I know I should. What would probably make it better.

I hate that here I am, having a meltdown, a breakdown, an upset, a disappointment (whatever you want to call it, self help guru geeks) on the way to success and I’m feeling guilty for not having turned it into a break through yet.

I hate that social networking isn’t as fulfilling as real networking because it feels like no one really networks in real life anymore.  And I hate that I know that I’m projecting that based on my own experiences. I hate the path to enlightenment.

Humph. And I think I’m done.  Maybe.

Thank you for listening to my whining. I’m gonna go have fun and find that break through now. Peace out.

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Help!  My Ego is swallowing my Id and my Super-Ego seems to be gone fishing!

Okay, so I promised myself that I’d post in the happiness blog everyday, work on my different shops, status posts, promotion, website, etc a little bit each day.  This has been great for solidifying my ‘brand’ as my BF calls it.  It has challenged me to just sit down and write each day and I’ve learned so much about Twitter, Facebook, Social Networking, SEO, Online Sales, YouTube promotional practices and Copyrights, Etc, Etc.  Seriously, I feel like I took a self taught online marketing class last week.  And I’ve made new friends in the blogging and online world.  That’s the good part.

The drawback?  Thinking about myself is starting to make me feel actually sick.  Self-promotion is the name of my business, yes…all of my businesses actually.  But I feel like all the searching through photos and videos, posts, and inner reflections about yours truly is like an addiction.  Ego stroking has become being Ego’s bitch.  And my Id is seriously pissed off (sorry for the swearing mom, please keep reading my blog!).  And even the parts of my businesses that I’ve tried to really focus around helping others or leaving a good mark in the world feel self-serving.  Even chanting doesn’t help. Or doing good works.

Is this just a part of my chosen professions?  Is part of being a successful artist/creator/inventor/writer having to be uncomfortably self-promoting everyday?  It may be true…at least until you can afford to pay someone to do it all for you.  And I’m aware that the discomfort may be some part of my unconsciousness trying to get me to give up or back off on my daily forward progress goals, so I’m not gonna just quit.  But I’d truly appreciate any advice back from all of you more successful bloggers and self-promoters about how to deal with this part of the whole social networking industry.

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Today I’m gonna give my own happiness seeking voice a break and give a shout out to some peeps who are way smarter than me and have been doing this successful at life thing much better and longer.  :)

You may want to bookmark this page, as I will probably add to it over time.











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I don’t know about you, but I have a huge hang-up about self-help, addiction recovery, therapy, etc.  Some inner Viking drive says, “I don’t need help.  I am not weak.  Lame, pathetic people need those things.”

I also think, “if people know about my secret love of spiritual and mental growth, they’ll think I’m a big geek!”

Yeah, because playing clarinet in high school, loving sci-fi and fantasy, running away with the circus and constantly burying my nose in a book hasn’t already given it away.

But this has me thinking, what is it about our society that makes positive change and growth such a stigma?  If you decide to join a group to support you in your not drinking (because well, the rest of the world and media is pretty much your keep drinking support system), then you’re an alcoholic or an addict.  ‘Diets’ are for fat or anorexic people.  Practicing meditation, going to prayer meetings or chanting all has a go ahead and drink the grape kool-aid kind of feel.  Speaking of which, I attended this great seminar called the Landmark Forum, and was told by the internet and a bunch of people who’d never attended it that I was joining a cult.  Seeking happiness?  Well, aren’t you naive…resigned apathy is much, much cooler.

What’s up with that?  Is it a defensive mechanism to keep us from actually doing the work to change?  Is it the influence of pop culture trying to keep us miserable and buy-buy-buying?  Is it peer bashing to keep up the self esteem of the unmotivated?  I don’t know.

What I do know is if everyone told me not to love my cat so much, I’d tell them to ‘eff off.  She makes my life better.  So why do I sometimes get caught up in the stigma’s about behavior change and research that might make my life better?  Discuss.

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