Something’s Coming – Tune In

Photo Credit: Randy ORourke on Unsplash
Photo Credit: Randy ORourke

Hey y’all – 

I’ve spent the last few days touching base with clients and friends and colleagues. We’ve been having intense conversations where the only thing we know is…we don’t know. There’s so much that we don’t know.

But here’s the interesting undercurrent I want to share – in the midst of all the unknowing, there is some deep clarity taking shape. Maybe it’s not here yet, but it’s forming. Maybe you are seeing some of this yourself?

Have you noticed –

  • Things that used to be important have suddenly fallen off of your ‘To Do’ list?
  • Your focus has shifted
  • You’ve let go of things
  • Your feelings are closer to the surface
  • You are seeing certain relationships, structures and ‘impossible’ things in a new light?

This moment is an opportunity. 

The cool thing is that this opportunity doesn’t put more pressure on you. You are already doing the work – I’m simply asking you to notice it. Take it seriously. Write down the shifts you are noticing, without judgement. Allow yourself to imagine the future. You don’t have to do anything about it today. In fact, you probably can’t do a whole lot today. But dreaming is an important component to creation. It allows you be intentional when the moment comes to act.

What are you noticing about your new patterns? What ideas about how you want to work and interact with the world are surfacing? 

I encourage you to simply notice what is happening to you. What is changing? What has remained?

It’s ok to take what you are learning and weave it into a vision of the life you want. How do you want your life to have meaning and impact? There is no right answer – there is simply the answer that only you can create. 

Rest friends – take care of yourself. 

Change is happening. Embrace the creativity of transition.

What are Your 20’s Going to Look Like?

It’s almost 2020. 

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Somehow, the 20’s became a magical decade. Many people never mature out of them or at least never admit to it. Perhaps the Roaring ‘20’s still capture our imagination. Maybe we just like the idea of a younger, more carefree version of ourselves. 

Let’s call bullshit, shall we?

Let’s stop looking back nostalgically, or expectantly, or worshipfully. The truth is, wherever you are now, is perfect. It’s exactly where you should be to learn and grow in the ways that you specifically need. You’ve earned your way to this very spot. It is not good or bad, it just is. And it’s yours to live.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to stay. 

Maybe that’s already painfully obvious to you. Maybe life and transition is happening to you right now, whether you feel ready or not. 

Maybe:

  • A parent requires your caregiving and suddenly you’re not sure if you can handle being both a ‘child of’ and a ‘caregiver of’ (not to mention ‘partner of’, ‘colleague of’, etc.)
  • You have a new job or your work life is changing or you got a longed for promotion that’s scaring the pants off of you.
  • You are thinking about leaving something (a job, a relationship, a social group) that has defined you for so long that you can’t really imagine there’s another side.
  • You are getting divorced or are recovering from a deeply wounding break-up.
  • You’re not even sure how to articulate it, but a small voice inside you knows you are stuck or lost and won’t let you rest.

So, let’s ask again – what are your 20’s going to look like? What will this decade hold for you and for your work in the world? The world needs you. We need your gifts and courage, your grace and engagement. And it’s ok to not know what that means or where to start. 

You don’t have to figure it out alone.  The 2020’s don’t just have to happen to you. But they are coming fast. 

Find your breath.

Find your people.

Find your coach.

Do the creative work of making the life you want.

Now accepting a limited number of coaching clients to begin in January 2020. Group experiences coming in 2020. 

Try This:

Close your eyes. Take three deep centering breaths. Keep breathing and imagine what you want your life to look like in 10 years – your home, your social life, your spiritual life, your health, your career and livelihood.

Now two more deep breaths – what does this future feel like? Envision the feel of your day-to-day. Imagine the way happiness and fulfillment feel in your body. Do they feel solid and grounding? Do they feel light and free? Where does laughter and joy reside? 

Reflect:

How did that experience feel? Did you have immediate ideas about your future or did it feel like you were looking into a grey void? Both are ok – and both deserve exploring. Immediate ideas should be considered thoughtfully. Where did those ideas come from? Are those ideas for your life yours, or did they come from someone else? Grey voids mean you have lots of room to create, to play, to try on ideas until the right ones fit. 

What do you want?

Practice:

Spend two minutes every morning for the next two weeks envisioning this life and feeling these feelings.

The Voice of Imperfection

Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics

Our ideas of perfection are almost always external. We were taught about perfection, or we internalized ideas about it when we were growing up. Social media and regular media are a constant barrage of “perfection”.

By the time we are adults, our imperfections, on the other hand, are mostly internalized comparisons. We call them out to ourselves all the time – I’m fat. I’m lazy. I’m dumb. I’m not as good as…We judge ourselves again the external. I do it so much, I don’t even realize how often it happens.

What if our imperfections were actually something else entirely?

What if the internal judgements that we obsess over are actually helpful messages that we misread in our quest to be perfect?

I’m lazy. (Could also be – I need to rest.)

I can’t get everything done and I’m failing. (Could also be – maybe I don’t have to do everything and ‘doing everything’ is too much for anyone. I need help. I need to let go.)

I’m always tired. (Maybe your body need better nutrition? Exercise? Are you spending your energy on things that drain, rather than feed, you?)

Maybe our imperfections are important messages we are misinterpreting.

Can we stop beating ourselves up long enough to actually listen to what our ‘imperfections’ are telling us?

AFP International Conference 2019

A little slow to post – but such a great conversation and group at AFP ICON. As one participant told me later,

“It’s so great to know that you are not alone but to also feel inspired by something that seems so hard.”

Thanks Rachel Mallernee for the support and the pic!

Itineraries, Agendas, and Slowing the F Down

It was an adventure – my daughter’s first “passport trip” as she put it.  There was so much for her to experience for the first time – customs/forms/questions, new currency, a language she only knew by a few phrases, foods, art, history.

 

And it was exhausting. Being a mama is exhausting. Traveling in a foreign place without other adults and a dependent (albeit fantastic) human is exhausting.

 

And yet – I kept adding on to the agenda. I kept asking what else we should do, kept scouring the map. Without acknowledging it, I was operating out of scarcity. Were we doing enough?? It was my daughter who reminded me to pause. To breathe. To absorb what we’d just done before we ran to the next thing.

 

“Mama, I think it’s time to go back to the hotel and just rest for a little while.”

 

A wise lesson in boundaries and presence from my 10 year old. When we got home, I asked about her favorite part of the trip. I expected it to be specific, a thing – the food tour, the churros, Frida Kahlo’s house, the Dia de los Muertos art installation in the Zocolo.

 

“My favorite part was when we were just wandering around and exploring; just being together.”

 

What do you want to be present for, just today? Not what are you waiting to see or do. Not what are you waiting to happen.

 

  • What (or who) can you be present for today? Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s what feeds you.

 

  • How can you pause, before you run to the next thing?

 

Maybe less is not less.

 

3 “Simple” Steps

 

Whether you have a formal spiritual practice or not, most of us are seeking. We want to move forward in our lives in a way that is joyful. That means different things to different people, and at least for me, the very idea itself is constantly changing and evolving.

So often the advice out there feels rhetorical, loopy, or woo-woo, at best. So I’m always on the lookout for practical advice on what it means to seek and to grow. Gabrielle Bernstein was recently at guest on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast, and she gave the following three steps.

Side note: she says these are “simple” but I’m not totally sure that’s true. If this stuff was “simple”, we’d be done and over it already, right? So, in the spirit of embracing our complicated and not-so-simple lives, these steps are worth considering.

Gabrielle Bernstein’s (Paraphrased) Steps to Enlighten Your Life Today 

  1. Be willing and open. Admit that you need to learn and grow in a particular area or way. Then, be open to new ways of seeing or approaching that part of your life.
  2. Pay serious attention to the teachers, the guides and assignments. If you are open, learning opportunities will come to you. Be on the lookout. Take the work of learning from the world seriously.“We can be willing, but then go right back” to the distractions (ie our phones), bad habits, or destructive patterns.
  3. Show up for the assignments. This one is my favorite. Do the work – and pay attention. You don’t have to feel like you have the answers, but you do have to show up, listen, and take the assignments to heart.

Here’s a link to the full podcast (Nov 7, 2017), which also includes Marie Forleo (I dig her too) – enjoy!

 

**If you are ready to consider your next steps, face some of your blocks, and vision your future – let’s do it together! Contact me for in-person, phone or virtual coaching today. sally@sally.blue

 

 

 

 

Why I love Dia de los Muertos and Some Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation

 

 

I love Dia de los Muertos,

even more than I love Halloween. Halloween is spooky and silly and all about a new perspective on the familiar. There’s a special place in my heart for haunted houses, babies dressed as pumpkins, ghosts and goblins, and to the disgust of some, I even love candy corn.

 

But Dia de los Muertos heals me. Growing up in South Texas, across the dirt road from a cemetery, I was vaguely aware of the holiday. There were sugar skulls and pan de muerto at the local bakery, marigold petals seemingly everywhere, and vigils, music and candles carried on late into the night. And truthfully, I never thought much about it.

 

Even though I lost five family members over a short amount of time, it wasn’t just death that brought me closer to the meaning of Dia de los Muertos. The void was painful. But my family’s misery was more painful, watching those who were left disintegrate within their grief, unable to move past the death and loss.

 

We had no language for anything but sadness. There was nothing to help us move beyond being stuck in pain.

 

Then a friend invited me to his neighbor’s Dia de los Muertos celebration. The husband died a few years before and the whole neighborhood gathered to celebrate his life. I didn’t know him, but I felt like I did – people shared stories and laughed while the candles flickered. Instead of crying, we ate tacos, drank Coke in the bottle, and danced to his favorite songs. The alter in the living room was gorgeous and colorful and lively. I didn’t know him but his spirit and his life still touched me. Suddenly, I could see death as a part of life, and my heart began to warm.

 

From then on, whenever we crossed the Texas-Mexico border to shop – we used to do that easily, back in the day – I’d be on the lookout for my next little figurine, a colorful little play on death and life. Only a few of those bits of art have survived the many moves of my adult years. I bought a new one a few years ago when my little dachshund died – a dog skeleton wearing a glittery hat. Gus would definitely approve.

 

I honor and celebrate the day in my own way because it lets me claim what I love about those I lost –honoring their lives and their impact on me. I miss them still, but I keep them alive by sharing their stories, putting up their pictures, seeing them in me. Dia de los Muertos has taught me to see community in death. It has also given me a sense of humor about it – which is certainly something that my uncle, Papa Roy, would endorse. It is not something I learned from my family, but it is something I hope to teach my daughter.

 

Living in a multicultural society means we can learn from each other’s traditions, perspectives, and values. It also means we must honor those traditions that are not our own. The ‘how’ can feel sticky, especially as those traditions evolve and change. I believe it’s important to know what we are in danger of appropriating, to make the effort necessary to give context and respect. We can be inspired, changed and enriched by others – we should be – but it’s also our responsibility to do so without erasing the histories leading to this moment.

 

Dia de los Muertos may be new to you. If it is, by all means – buy the sugar skulls and the skeleton auto mechanic figurine that somehow looks a little like your Uncle Mike. Then take a minute to learn more about the holiday and its origins. I promise you – it will only make your experience richer.

 

Here’s some great places to start (or refresh!): http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/elviadiaz/2017/10/31/day-of-the-dead-dia-de-los-muertos-lesson-grandmother/815742001/

 

http://www.nola.com/food/index.ssf/2017/10/day_of_the_dead_is_an_importan.html

 

Training and Speaking and Learning

Oct 19, Texas CASA Institute, Galveston, Texas “Creating a Map: Engaging your Board In Fundraising”

Oct 20, Texas CASA Conference, Galveston, Texas “Beyond Tomorrow: Sustainable Leadership”

Oct 25, DivInc: A Pre-Accelerator Focused on Championing Diversity in the Tech Startup Ecosystem, Austin, “Fundraising with Sally Blue”

Reflections: Marching, MJ, and My Kid in a Blazer

Being presidential

It’s the dawn of a new administration.

More people marched in protest the day after the inauguration than have ever marched before. Women and men around the world gathered in solidarity.

It’s empowering and exciting and exhausting.

It’s also frustrating. I ran into a friend walking her dog. When I asked what she thought of the Women’s March she said, “I have a lot of rage…at my fellow progressives.”

I was so sure she’d say “at Trump,” or about a certain issue, or even “at Trump supporters.” But her rage faces inward. I paused for a second, because I get it. I wonder the same things that she does – what more should I have done? And where were all these people four months ago?

For those of us out here trying to do good every day, it can feel like too much. I spent the first weeks after the election numb and tired. As the reality set in and the work of unraveling all kinds of social progress began, I was sick. Scared. Uncertain.

I know this for sure, and I know it in my bones: things have to change.

Change is messy and uncomfortable and uncertain. As I often tell my coaching and strategic planning clients – if doesn’t feel messy and difficult, then we aren’t doing it right. We aren’t really asking the tough questions, and we aren’t trying to name the elephant in the room. Change is supposed to be messy and scary.

And change, as Michael Jackson says, begins “with the (wo)man in the mirror.” I’m committed to taking a step back and examining more closely my own ‘why’. We have not time nor energy to spare. What cause is most important to you and what actions will have the most impact? In other words, can you dig deeper into what you are already doing and ask, is it the right thing? Is it enough? What do I need to change?

The beauty of the Internet – for all its challenges – is that we can hear other people’s opinions, and people’s responses to those opinions, and we can decide what we think for ourselves.

If you haven’t seen it, and you are curious, google #notmymarch. All I will say is, I don’t have time for Christie. I’ve spent too much of my life and career so far worried about Christie. Christie is not worried about me or the people that I care about or the equity that I believe in. Christie has a world of information at her fingertips and she chooses what to do with it.

I do have the time to keep checking my white privilege. Several people have also posted, and written, eloquently on the racism problem in feminism. (See bell hooks and this great list on Elle for a start – share more resources in the comments!) What does that have to do with the March? It was a peaceful protest, and while I support nonviolent actions, it’s important to unpack our pride at being ‘peaceful’ – recognizing the limitation of personal experience when it comes to political violence and what assumptions we make about how we will be treated. See Jahmelia Lindsay’s post on Facebook for more perspective.

At school last Friday, my daughter dressed as her role model: Hillary Clinton. When I asked her why she chose HRC, my kiddo taught me a lesson in leadership. She spoke eloquently of Hillary Clinton’s strength, that she kept going even when people said mean things, that she did what was right, and she tried to take care of people. My daughter is convinced that Hillary will get back up and keep fighting. There was nothing in her answer about the loss. It was all about the leadership.

Y’all – we can do this, and it’s going to take all of us.

Let’s get to work. #breadandroses