Monday, May 18, 2015

D is for We Are All Don Draper

Yes, I know, I've done the letter "D" before but as I stated many blog posts ago, I might repeat the letters as the lessons come in. And what better lesson is there than last night's finale of Mad Men?

We are all Don Draper. And Peggy Olson. And Joan Harris. As I watched the finale of Mad Men I couldn't help but see myself, and my journey in Don Draper, and Peggy Olson and yes, Joan, too.

What I got from last night's finale is that Don finally let go of his past. It has served him, and almost destroyed him, for so many years but to finally detach from what was and become what is is tough, and he had his moment last night. He made peace with all that he had done and decided that he could now move on.

My Life Coach and I work on this a lot. The Robyn I have been, and how she served me, protected me, got me to this point is not the Robyn I am. I am not defined by my past actions or my future endeavors but rather who I am in this one very moment of being. Let me repeat that, my past does not define me at this very moment. And neither does my future. They are all parts of me but not the full me. I am not my failed relationships, my missed opportunities, the next job I don't have yet or the marriage I'm not in right now. I am only who I am at this very moment. Typing away on my laptop, dog on my lap, feeling quite content and ridiculously fortunate to have this moment on a Monday morning to do so. I know this all sounds so very foofy, but it's true. And if Don, the biggest skeptic there is can find his way, so can you. And so can I. 

I wish I had tangible advice on detachment but I don't. My Life Coach and I work on gratitude as way to detach. Thanking my past experiences for getting me to this moment. The good and the bad ones. And we also work on trusting in the unknown for my future. Letting it be an exciting moment, not a anxious one. Why? Because there are no guarantees so why stress over it? Seems so simple, but both are so hard. Hard to thank all the bad things in your life, hard to trust something you can't see or touch. At least for a Type A-er like me. But then again, I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't want to change. 

But Don isn't the only one I see myself in. As a female IN ADVERTISING, I also see a piece of me in Peggy and in Joan. While I wish it was their stunning red hair, it's not. It's their drive, their acceptance of who they are and their ability to go after what they want, even in adverse situations. They are makes and doers and beings. And it was fantastic to watch them grow into the women they became. Peggy let go of her past (her baby) and finally truly accepted it when she shared that moment with Stan. She finally was able to love and realized she is worthy of it, too. Beautiful. She was able to say ok, this is who I am RIGHT NOW. I don't need to be a mother to prove myself. It's ok to have other dreams. What's crazy is even though that show was set over 30 years ago, the reality is still the same. But, I am not here to lecture or inform you on how being a female in advertising has not come a long way, baby. Nope, instead I want the take away to be that people are always struggling with who they want to be versus who they are expected to be. You are not alone in this. I am not alone in this. It's okay to want things but remember, being is way more important. Peggy finally let go of both of those and lived in the moment. And got a boyfriend to boot (I can hear my mother now, "when you're not looking is when you'll meet him. You just never know..." sigh, ok mom!)

And Joan...if she is not determination personified than I don't know what is. Everyone told her no, so many did not take her seriously, but she did and she told herself yes. She believed in herself and loved herself enough to go for what she wanted. My Acupuncturist and Zen Meditation teacher, Dr. Kim, tells us to compliment ourselves 5 times a day. That when we truly love ourselves we do not need approval from anyone else. Joan, thank you for reminding me that.

So, this morning I raise a drink (Zevia—not Coke—hold the Whiskey...for now) to Peggy and Joan and of course, Mr. Draper. To me, while they are all different, they really are just representations of the whole of ourselves. They all live inside of us. Lofty, I know. As we move through this crazy journey of life, know that you are not alone. Whatever judgements or feelings you have, we have all had them. Also know, just like this television series, nothing is permanent. So enjoy it while it is and let go of what you thought it was or will be. As the jingle (the very thought of that word makes me cringe) sings on "I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it's the real thing..."

SIDE NOTE: I also loved this series finale because it's all truth...the creative process is painful yet rewarding, the business is down right bonkers and it will drive you crazy but you'll always come back because it's where you belong, we are inspired by everything around us, and yes, people at work hook up. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Z is for Zac Brown...and other country song lyrics.

Ok, yes, I listen to country music. I never used to but one day when I was freelancing at an agency, the Art Director I was filling in for (she was on maternity leave) had a ton of country songs on her desktop. It became background noise for me and I never gave it much thought. Until I discovered Zac Brown. I loved his music from note one. I hate to sound cliche, but it spoke to me. And not in the drunk sing-a-long kind of way when I first heard him. But as I travel on my own road of discovery, I realize that I connect with people doing the same. Enter, Zac Brown (hell, enter a lot of people but for this purpose, ZB).

Let me back up a bit. For those of you who are new, or have forgotten (since it has been forever since I posted something), last year I wanted to make 2014 the year that I discovered who I really was spiritually, and explored letting go of some of my Type A angst. It's been a crazy ride and in doing so, I've opened myself up to new experiences, new beliefs, new perspectives. And one of those is really listening to people's story. And Zac Brown has an amazing one to tell.

In LA, we do a lot of driving. So, I have a lot of time to listen to Pandora (sorry, not a fan of Spotify). I decided to put Zac Brown down as a channel because it felt right for the drives to and from Mammoth. It matched the landscape. So, as I listened, I learned the words. And as I learned the words, I realized Zac is pretty clued into this whole trusting the universe thing I've been into lately. And, my Life Coach once mentioned to me that as I shift, others around me would shift. Or, if they didn't, I would notice what I didn't like in me—in them, and that i would find people more like me. And she was right. I found Zac. Now, we're not besties or anything. I'm not even a crazy hopeful stalker hoping he'll read this and invite me backstage (or...). I'm just saying, as I change, I find more people like me and it's comforting to know someone else gets it. And put it into words outside of this blog.

As a storyteller I really appreciate the beauty in words and thoughts. And here's a few clips I think you will enjoy.

From Let it Go (not to be confused with Let it Go):
Looking back now on my life I can't say I regret it
And all the places that I ended up not the way Ma woulda had it
But you only get once chance at life to leave your mark upon it
And when a pony he comes riding by you better set your sweet ass on it
You keep your heart above your head and you eyes wide open
So this world can't find a way to leave you cold
And know you're not the only ship out on the ocean
Save your strength for things that you can change
Forgive the ones you can't (forgive not just forget, that's serious stuff people. Be kind to each other, forgiveness is hard but anger is harder)
You gotta let 'em go
Like a sweet sunset in Georgia let it go
And like the fear that grabs ahold ya let it go
Let it go
Let it go

From Quiet Your Mind (which, hello....MEDITATION!)
I feel the change
Goin' on all around me
It's strange
How I'm taken and guided
Where I end up right I'm needed to be (trust the universe. You've heard this from me 25 times now. I know this because this is my 26th post)
Quiet your mind
Soak it all in
It's a game you can't win
Enjoy the ride
At the end of the water
A red sun is risin'
And the stars are all goin' away
And if you're too busy talkin'
You're not busy listenin'
To hear what the land has to say

And because I want to show off some of my other country music knowledge, here's one from Darius Rucker (yes, Hootie...he went and got country on you)
For every stoplight I didn't make 
Every chance I did or I didn't take 
All the nights I went too far 
All the girls that broke my heart 
All the doors that I had to close 
All the things I knew but I didn't know 
Thank God for all I missed 
Cause it led me here to This
I didn't understand it way back when 
But sitting here right now it all makes perfect sense (echem, 27)

Recently, things have been coming together for me. Like all my past experiences are suddenly making sense. That maybe everything has happened to bring me to this point, in LA, first with Maddie and now with Petey, as a Type A-er redefining what that means, doing what I do. It's kinda cool to see it all come together. And to hear it in harmony is amazing. Is it a coincidence it has happened while I've been searching or is it because I have been searching it has come to me? Yes. 

Maybe I hear what I want to hear, or read into it what I want. Isn't that the beauty of music? Or connections? Or finding our way? Making sense of it all and finding what we have in common? Accepting what we don't? 

So that's my alphabet. My spiritual journey from A-Z. There's so much more out there so don't be surprised when I repeat a letter. I'm just proud of the 26 ways my life has changed thus far. And I hope it has helped you in some way as well. 12-step programs might work for others but for this Type A-er, 26 (plus?) has been the way to go.

UPDATE: I can't count, I have 2 more to go. Repeated letters will have to wait. Lucky you! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Y is for a Year in review. Because everyone else is doing it.

So, it's that time of year again. Top 10 lists of the best of 2014 this and the worst of 2014 that. Yawn. I know. And I'm about to add to that. With hopefully a little more inspiration and a little less tedium.

2014 has been an interesting year for me for sure. And if you have been following this blog, you've read all about my highs and lows and shifts from typical Type A to atypical Type A, which I guess is Type not A? It's not Type B, that's for sure.

So, in the spirit of end of years lists, I am making one myself. You know I can babble on and on but I'll do my best to keep this digestible. This is more of a path through my spiritual journey but I am hoping you get inspired to try some of these for yourself.

Top 10 things I learned along the way:
1. This first one is of utmost importance to me and my path: TRUST. A Type A-er relies solely on themselves to get shit done. I've come to learn that something else is out there, guiding me. I must trust it has my back. And I also must trust that others do, too. And finally, I have to trust in myself. (the shorter, more general synopsis to this longer point is: things really do happen for a reason, trust in them.)

2. Losing a dog is hard. Very, very hard. But losing the lesson is harder. So make sure you appreciate everything your animal teaches you. They are here until their job is done. Understand that. Embrace it. Let it help you heal. Then, honor them by being the person they always thought you were. (I love my new dog Petey, in a short time he has taught me so much, but I will also miss and have a space in my heart for Miss Maddie and everything she has brought to me—including Petey)

3. Vicoden is not the answer. Neither is Xanax. You read that correctly. I miss them, I won't lie, but there are alternative and healthier options out there. Try them all. It won't kill you, but an OD might.

4. Stay in your best self. Walk away from friendships, relationships, jobs, even conversations that do not serve you. There is no reason you should not be in your best self all the time.

5. Allow for "note to self moments." Meaning, this spiritual thing is a practice for a reason. I've been Robyn for 42 years and it has helped me get to where I am. I need to appreciate that. Changing over night is a lot of pressure to put on yourself, so don't. Allow for mistakes and set backs, bad days and swear words. The change comes when you start to recognize these patterns as opposed to living in them.

6. Thoughts are fleeting. They do not define who you are. They just define a moment in your brain. An inner voice making a judgement. A trick I use when a negative thought or judgement comes into my mind is I speak to it. So yeah, I'm crazy. I say, "oh, that's what fear sounds like" or "that's just worrying, I recognize it." By defusing it's path, it loses it's strength.

Which leads me to 7. Which is the hardest for me to date. LOVE all those feelings and judgements. Let them know that without them, you can't appreciate their opposite. Meaning, I love scarcity because it helps me appreciate abundance. I know. A hard one to wrap your head around (and truth be told I do not love scarcity or fear or worry, but I am trying). Again, it's a practice for a reason. I'm not there yet. I'm a Type A after all.

8. Meditation does make you 10% happier. If not more. Try it. If I can sit quiet for 20-50 minutes, you can too.

9. Before you respond (or in my cases in the past, react) ask yourself "W.A.I.T! = Why Am I Talking?" (here's a bonus acronym: R.A.I.N = Recognize. Accept. Inspect. Neutralize)

10. Be inspired. I hope this blog has helped you as much as it has helped me. Writing it out is truly one of the best forms of therapy. At least it has been for me. Find what inspires you, lifts you, motivates you and go for it. You'll be a lot happier you did, than wishing you didn't try something (well, unless of course it's bungee jumping off a 100 ft bridge with 110ft rope. Don't try that, that's just common sense...)

I'm almost at the end of my alphabet, but I am just beginning my journey. I'll keep posting, fret not. I hope you keep enjoying.

Happy Holidays, New Year and all that jazz.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A too, Brute?: J is for Journey. As if it would have been for any...

A too, Brute?: J is for Journey. As if it would have been for any...: All things considered, did you really expect this blog to have J stand for anything else BUT journey? Well, maybe journal, which was my ori...

J is for Journey. As if it would have been for anything else.

All things considered, did you really expect this blog to have J stand for anything else BUT journey? Well, maybe journal, which was my original thought, but journal derives from journey, and this blog is all about that so that's where I'm going with it (see what I am doing here? Going...journey...).

I'm not going to get all cliché-like on you and say life isn't about the destination, blah blah blah. That's not what this is all about. But, as before, I am going to get into details about my personal journey in hopes it helps you with yours. That, and this blogging thing not only helps me with my writing but it's damn cathartic.

It's been almost a year since I have started this spiritual growth quest. The path to which I got here is as important as where I am going but I want to focus on recent events. This past month has probably been one of the toughest months I have ever experienced. My heart dog, Maddie, passed away. As I type this I still get choked up. Maddie's journey had come to an end after a bad 24 hours. In my mind, her last day was going to be filled with sun and fun and burgers. Instead it was filled with a 104 fever and tears. As I work through the grief with my Life Coach we discuss how her time here had come to an end because she did what she had to do. She taught me about unconditional love and life and happiness. She helped me through break-ups and moves and bad jobs. However, my journey is still continuing on without her. And it's been really, really tough. Really. And then I met Petey. Petey is a Pitbull who was used as a bait dog in a fighting ring. I saw his smile (can you believe it? After all he's been through, he smiles?!?!) on Facebook one day and knew this was the dog. It was Maddie's smile. Maddie's eyes. And the crazy thing was it was the same exact expression Maddie had that I recently framed. When people tell you that your old dog will find you a new one, they don't lie.

So now Petey and I begin our journey together. And truth be told Maddie and I continue it as well because last week I separated ways with my job. It wasn't unexpected. It wasn't horrible. It was just not right. I recently told a friend that if this job were my boyfriend, I would have broken up with it. So, as with all journeys, the universe led me down a path that I wouldn't have gone down by myself. It took care of me. For what reason I don't know. Clearly because something better is out there. And clearly because I need to bond and be with my new dog. But here's the thing...Maddie sent me Petey because she knew that at this juncture in my journey, I need the comfort of a trusted friend. And she didn't want me to be alone.

I know, I know. This is all sounding a bit hokey. And cult like. I get it. A year ago I would have BA-HAHAHA'ed the hell out of this post. But having traveled down the path I've been on, I can only say that this is truly the way things work. The universe takes care of what you can not. My grandmother used to say, "G-d does for you what you can't do for yourself." So, no matter how you spin it, G-d, the universe, angels, karma...things so happen for a reason (and Petey and I coming together is one of those which I will cover in the next blog post). We all have a journey we are meant to experience. Paths that bring us to places and changes that help us move-on.

I don't know where the next stop on my journey is. I'm not gonna lie, I'm slightly freaked-out. But, I'm also slightly excited. Before all of this exploration I would have never had the tools to get through this kind of "patch." But see, that's how it works...I met the people I have met (my Life Coach, my acupuncturist, Petey) because I needed the tools and love they provide to help me along this journey (have I said this word enough). And what are one of those tools? Well, a journal of course. And what would a J blog post be without a picture of them.

This first one is called "The Scribble Diary" and I love it! I found it at The Getty Museum but
I'm sure you can find it on Amazon. I randomly open to a page and begin to fill in
all the spaces provided. Sometimes I even draw...hence the name of the book. I highly recommend this book. It always makes me feel better and I do it before I go to bed so random thoughts and internal voices aren't keeping me up at night. 

The second one is a blank lined book. This was the first one I bought (and still use) per the advice of my Life Coach. She asked me to buy a book I can keep notes in. To record feelings and thoughts and intentions. I got this one for one reason only, "Stay gold Ponyboy. Stay gold."

There are still a lot of blank pages left in this book because I don't use it every day. I only use it when a moment strikes. Which is great. Because I still have a lot of journeying to do.

Oh, and here's Petey. Because how can I not show you how perfect a dog Miss Maddie found for me. 

Love. Sigh. Exhale. Journey on.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A is for An Inch. Which is A LOT.

Yes, it's been some time since I have posted and yes, I still have a few more letters to cover off on, but it's been a crazy month. I started a new job, I ended a relationship, I moved, and most importantly, I took some time away from writing. However, by letting go this past month of all the not-so-good in my life, I've made some room for GROWTH. How much? Well, a lot. And it all started with an inch.

This past weekend I went to Mammoth. Outside of it being one of my happy places, it was a very meaningful trip. Last summer I went on a backpacking adventure through the Eastern Sierras. The goal (hey, I'm a Typer A-er, of course there was a goal!)? Summit Middle Pal. However, I didn't make it. Sure I had fun with my friends. Sure I got to almost 13k ft. But I did not hit the summit and to me, that meant I failed. My success was not based on my journey but rather the goal. (And I know you know where I am going with this but I'm going to go there anyway.) Having worked with my Life Coach this whole time, I have come to learn that managing my vision of success means letting go of the end result. So much success was had on that trip last summer but I was too goal-oriented to see it.

Fast forward one year later. I sign up for rock climbing instruction. And not in a gym, but on real rock, in Mammoth. The kind that held me back at Middle Pal. And before I went I spoke to my Life Coach about it. I said this is the skill I need to get me to the summit, but I'm scared about trusting a complete stranger to help me. She reminded me to watch my words, and reframed that statement to be, "I'm curious to see how I work WITH trust on this trip." Then she spoke to me about success. And this isn't the first we've talked about success. What do I see success being? I said, not being afraid of Middle Pal again. Complete each task they give me. Walking away strong and ready. Hello, list maker...

So yeah, that had to be reframed, too. I had to manage my vision of my success. If I didn't get to the top of the rock, I had to be ok with where I got. I had to measure success differently. In baby steps. Or in the case of rock climbing in inches.

And wanna know what? It worked. Sure, I had to remind myself of it, (out loud too, which made me look REALLY insane) but it worked. And I was brave enough to mention this to both my guides. That I not only wanted to work on rock climbing skills, but use it as a tool to help me manage my vision of success and work on my trust. It's amazing how with each step (which felt like miles but was really inches) I felt happier with that one step. And the top, 100 feet above me was no longer the goal. It was actually very liberating to let go of that success marker. And actually, it made it easier to get to the top, as well as listen to the new lessons I was learning. My brain was no longer on "get to the goal" mode. No more rushing to cross this off the list. No more anxiety about failure.

I know it sounds like I've accomplished a lot in a little amount of time but that's not true. This journey has been happening for almost a year now. And continues to happen. And inch by inch I'm growing into the person I want to be. Is that a goal? Sure, but, I'm enjoying the journey much more than I am crossing it off my list.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

E is for Emptying the Basket (or as I call it: Conversational Vomit)

Last week was interesting for me, and a lot has happened. However, when I got to my life coach appointment, I found myself spending a good portion of the start of our session talking about bullshit. Inconsequential tidbits that have no bearing on our session (or so I thought...wait for it). Ever do that? Get on the phone with someone or meet up with someone and just start rambling? Like you've been holding in this conversation sooooo long that you were about to burst if you didn't let it out?

Yup. Don't lie.

Well, guess what...there is a term for that. It's called "emptying the basket." And the funny thing is, we all do it yet it bothers us all (usually the world is a mirror...). Especially us Type A-ers whose patience wears thin when we can't check off what WE want to cover on the call (or in the conversation) because someone else is conversationally vomiting.

It really is a practice of patience to let someone else empty their basket. Another thing I have problems with. But, like everything else I am doing, or shall I say, relearning, I am working on it.

Here's a good example (I've tossed and turned on whether or not to use the person involved's real name but decided I love them too much to do it, so...). I speak to an old friend weekly. Sometimes bi-weekly. Every time I get on the phone with them I have to sit through some pretty mundane talk. Gossip mostly, or idle tidbits. I can not even connect with that kind of talk, especially because it's about people I don't even know. They go on and on. I zone out (how rude, I know). Then it's the grocery list or the daily errands. The whole beginning of our conversation I want to scream, or worse, hang up. I've talked about this with my Life Coach and she just laughed and said something to the effect of, "like you just did?" Touché Life Coach, touché. So, we worked on how to approach those weekly conversations. It's simple. WITH LOVE. I need to understand that we all do this. We all want to be heard. Want to be understood. When you approach this kind of situation with love and shift the way you converse, or rather listen, the other person shifts as well, and the conversation can be a beautiful thing. It makes me think of my recent post about being more like Maddie. I use less words. I keep it simple. I'm loyal and I listen. I still roll my eyes here and there but now I catch myself doing it (thank G-D this person does not use FaceTime of Skype). I let the others empty their basket and love them for it anyway. I don't cut them off anymore or say, "my turn" or think "what about me." I make it all about them, which shifts something in me.

So, next time someone vomits all over your phone call or happy hour meet-up, shift your perspective (and if they're really throwing up, shift your position) and let them empty the basket. Love them for it. You'll end up loving yourself for it, too.