Sunday, July 17, 2011

You Are No Ordinary Bird

One of my favorite books is Richard Bach's "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." Jonathan loves flying more than constantly scrambling for food like the other gulls. The book speaks to me because we are all unique individuals who occasionally feel not at all "remarkable," but more like an oddball among our flock of co-workers, friends and family. The question we must ask ourselves is, "Will I give in to group thinking and expectations or express the singular purpose calling me from within?"

"Why is it," Jonathan puzzled, "that the hardest thing in the world is to convince a bird that he is free, and that he can prove it for himself if he'd just spend a little time practicing? Why should that be so hard?" Pushing back on our limitations sends strong, intentional, loving roots deep into the bedrock of our self-acceptance. Finding the courage to be unique and different from the flock, is not always easy; but, only then can we grow upward and begin to soar.

"He (Jonathan) spoke of very simple things--that it is right for a gull to fly, that freedom is the very nature of his being, that whatever stands against that freedom must be set aside, be it ritual or superstition or limitation in any form." Jonathan is pointing out that we seldom live up to our highest potential. Instead, we fall back into the comfort of flock expectations where we are accepted, but not truly happy or fulfilled.

He goes on to explain to the eager, young gulls that those who exceed the flying limits of flock belief are not more special or gifted. "The only difference, the very only one, is that they have begun to understand what they really are and have begun to practice it."

Settling or soaring, that is the question!

Are you ready to understand and appreciate who and what you really are and then practice it? If so, email me at

There is more to life than just squawking with the flock!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Feeling is Revealing

I was a little apprehensive about sharing the previous blog, exposing too much of myself, perhaps? However, after posting my writing, I was immediately aware that my security issues stemmed from the very root of my being, that foundational structure that provides the stability and nurturing to allow us to grow courageously to new heights. In digging into those roots, I found they were tightly grasping a huge, gray boulder, a “foundation” utterly cold and unresponsive to my personal needs.

That structure formed in my very distant past when I was unable to comprehend the dynamics of people and situations around me. I’ve carried it and compensated for it for decades! Now that I see it, I can understand the factors that are creating my present fears about a lack of security if I let go of the boulder of my present regular-paycheck job, which, to be honest, no longer fulfills me or allows me to grow as it once did.

Two thoughts emerged when I came to this realization:

(1) If I remove the boulder, there is fertile soil beneath! I have experienced so much and demonstrated I can, when necessary, find and work with sufficient soil or other resources to ensure my survival.

(2) The boulder brought to mind a high, stone wall separating my past and future. I can clearly see my past but not the future; however, I have made it to this wall. It’s a cold, gray indicator that transition is necessary.

Furthermore, once I get past the wall and am beholding only to myself, I can create a future of my own making. Who knows how satisfying and rewarding my future can be if I make it my own?

The "moral" of this blog is: “Don’t shy away from your feelings even if they are a little uncomfortable.” Dig around in them and see what they have to tell you; there is treasure to be found.

I would love to face your transitions with you and coach you over walls that seem insurmountable. Contact me at and we’ll get started. You are stronger and more resourceful than you know.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I’m Far Too Petrified to Retire!

I have lived beyond the magic age for full Social Security; and believe me, I’m not still working to save the system from going bankrupt! I’m realizing I am desperately fearful of leaving my day job and its regular paycheck and relying on a drastically reduced Social Security check and a retirement fund that may or may not stay solvent in this unpredictable, global, financial shakeup. In short, I struggle mightily with my concept of financial security.

But, that’s just one facet of my retirement planning dilemma. A few months ago, a wise friend suggested I develop a reasonable “flight plan” for retirement, giving myself plenty of time to prepare for take-off. I mentally stepped up to a long, long runway and within days, my left knee began to ache excruciatingly! It hurt when I walked; it hurt when I sat; it hurt when I lay in bed! I believe in the mind-body connection, so I saw this as a painful but curious physical signal that my mind was not ready to get on board.

To add insult to injury, I went on a lovely tour of Egypt in December 2010 (before the revolution) with 40 seniors, most of whom were retirees. I had an opportunity to ask many of them how they made the decision to retire. Their reasons were all over the grid: an accident that disabled the person; a spouse who retired and wanted the partner to do likewise; a work environment that became too onerous and restrictive; overall job weariness; family circumstances. Among these very nice tour mates I looked around, saw myself and started to feel my age—old! My knee was killing me and I painfully stood among my peers—retirement-aged adults.

I was trapped, a bit uncomfortable, and stubbornly trying to defy reality! I was forced to be real about my age and accept the joint pains that go with it! At my day job, I am among younger coworkers; I am old enough to be my supervisor’s mother! I’ve let myself identify with a younger generation. I can look at myself in the mirror and not see wrinkles—talk about delusions!

I am having my own life transition crisis! “Physician, heal thyself” (from Luke 4:23). I won’t give advice about something I have not personally experienced. This is my ethic and this difficult passage is my educational experience. Fortunately, it is tempered by a slowly blossoming reality that retirement from my day job is a gift, an incredible opportunity to express all those creative ideas I’ve been ignoring far too long. It can be a rebirth—and it will; that is my intention…with or without the knee pain!

Stay tuned.