When we feel disappointed by an outcome or by a situation, it is almost always because we had an expectation about it. It is almost never about the other person.
Yes, they might not have said or done what you had thought they would, or done something in a way you wanted, but that’s not on them! You were the one who created that expectation, and you are the one let down by that expectation.
So should we never have expectations??? It’s pretty hard to be human and not have them!
Instead, try to get clear about what you are expecting and why. Then communicate those clearly to others involved. They may have a different expectation of the outcome of the situation. It’s good to get clear from the beginning! And then, even if you feel you’ve done this, and you still end up feeling frustrated or disappointed by things not turning out the way you had wanted them to, ask yourself this question:
What’s the story underneath that expectation?
🤔 I feel scared I can’t handle something. 🤔 I feel alone and can’t count on anyone to be there for me. 🤔 I feel like if I’m not in control of a situation, it will end badly for me.
Whatever your story is, THAT’S what the frustration and disappointment is actually coming from. Release the other person or people from your disappointment.
Does this mean you continue to carry on in a situation that doesn’t serve you or what your underlying need is? No. You are your best advocate and you can still seek out another avenue if you still need that thing to be handled in a certain way. But continue to ask yourself why. Why do you think you need that thing or that person, or that situation to be handled in a certain way? Because you think only that certain outcome will do? It’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your stories, and who you are without them.
This part of my journey started when I was stuck in a job that wasn’t right for me. I could sense that the doors were closing for me there, but couldn’t see where the new doors might open yet, or even what they might look like, or where they might be. I was standing in the liminal space between who I had been and who I was going to be, (and, I didn’t know it yet… but was soon to experience, far more deeply, who I truly am).
I had been talking on the phone to my dear friend, Darakshan, and told him of my dilemma. He asked me only one question:
“What does your heart want?”
My answer… “Huh? My heart’s not saying anything. I guess the only thing that shows up when you ask that is just a word… freedom.”
“Oh!” he replied, exhaling deeply. “Oh!” He was silent for a moment. “That’s huge. I would hold on to your hat if I were you.” (I’m not sure of his exact words, or if they were about holding hats, but they were pretty close to this sentiment.)
I had no idea of where my journey would take me next. Where it took me… was my own roadmap to freedom. Freedom that had nothing to do with what job I had or where I lived. It had everything to do with knowing who I was. With really, deeply, understanding who I am. It all starts with asking your heart what it wants, and being still and quiet enough to hear its answer.
Read on for information on Coaching Sessions, Courses & Events, and February’s Thoughts and Musings…
This month’s theme is trusting your own inner wisdom. How many of us ignore that small nagging feeling inside us? It could show up as a nagging feeling that you should walk away from a harmful situation, maybe one where your boundaries are not being respected or you know something is not quite right, but you end up giving your time and presence to it anyway. Or, maybe it shows up as a strong longing to create a career out of a passion of yours that you know you would love, despite the fears of the “practicality” of such an adventure leading to sure financial and social ruin. Or, when you know there’s something more to a situation, and sense that there is something still hidden or unsaid, even if you can’t yet put your finger on it.
In all these circumstances, and many more, you often get a flash of deep knowing, but dismiss it because you don’t trust your own inner wisdom. Your mind takes over and gives you all the reasons in the world why you might be wrong. Perhaps it’s the echoing of another’s voice you hear then, a parent, a partner, a colleague, or a supervisor; but whoever’s voice it is, it is reverberating in your mind and creating a block. It takes attention, practice, and a commitment to yourself to see that block, push it aside, or dissolve it, and find the courage to trust yourself. You contain such deep wisdom. Trust it! Trust yourself! And, step into the life you want to lead.
I’m excited to announce that I will be offering a four-session course, Shadow Work and Unstorying on the web platform, Jung Platform, on Tuesdays at 7pm EST/4pm PST from March 21st through April 11th.
-> I still have 5 spaces left to join my March small group sessions for those who want some support to help them cut through the noise and drama of their everyday lives and find a deeper sense of clarity, peace, and breathing space! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
These retreats will infuse the process of Unstorying with creativity, mindfulness, a little mythology, and a lot of fun. Please click on the retreat survey here, so I can get a sense of your interest. Currently, we are looking at Hawai’i and Portugal!Feel free to forward this email if you know someone else who would be interested in Minding their Story.
How do you react when life throws you a curveball?
When you’ve planned, and organized, and thought out how every detail should go.
“No surprises!” “I’m in control of my fate!” “I will achieve that goal!”
Life often has a way of unfolding in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Sometimes, we view these changes as strokes of good fortune, and other times we cry out to bemoan the unfairness of the twist of fate.
We can make plans, we can set goals, but things happen. It’s how we respond when they happen that makes all the difference.
Seeing the story of your life unfolding is both a constant discipline and an exquisite art form. We are visited by both pain and joy along the way…and unexpected twists. These can be your Calls to Adventure, if you choose to see them that way, or they can knock you over and knock you out.
Instead, try yelling “Plot Twist” when these moments occur. How would your favorite character in a book, movie, or show react to such a twist?
Your story is unfolding now…how will you respond? How will you show up when there’s a plot twist?
Years ago, I was going through the motions… starting a career, hanging out with friends, dating, but never really finding “the one.”
I was living my life, but I wasn’t fully alive…
Something was nagging at me. A sense that there was more to life than this. I found myself embroiled in drama from the minute I woke up in the morning. And, was more stressed, anxious, and unfulfilled than I thought possible.That’s when a series of events began unfolding.
Started Tai Chi classes for exercise and because of the cute instructor, but gained an understanding of energy, how it moved, and how I could become sensitive to it.
I began exploring sacred stories and beliefs of other cultures, because I never really fully identified with a sense of belonging to a particular culture, and gained a deeper understanding of how all cultures create and find meaning and connection within their sacred stories and beliefs.
I started having the sense that there was some deeper truth that was just slightly outside of my grasp. Suddenly, I was experiencing synchronicities and inexplicable awarenesses on a more regular basis.
There was something else… underneath the stories of who I was and how the world worked that was not yet seen.
But, I was still mired in the stories of myself. Ones that told me I was less than and not worthy of others’ love. They informed everything I did, all the decisions I made, without my being aware of them.
I started to search for that deeper meaning I had tasted. I trained in Reiki and other energy work, practiced Kundalini yoga, read books on religion and spirituality… followed every shiny object. Always searching for that deeper truth.
I took classes and workshops, all to continue to search for that mysterious something. The thing that would explain it all.
I began a second career, went on to move around the world, exploring and learning as much as I could about philosophy, psychology, religion, spirituality… the searching was endless. I needed an answer so I collected skills and experiences like my life depended on it.
But it wasn’t until I stopped. That’s when it all came together.
It wasn’t until I was led to a time in my life when time stood still. When sitting in silence was the practice. A practice that forced all of the thoughts in my head, the stories I carried about myself and the world, to the front of the screen.
And what happened? I lost it. I got angry. I got scared. I cried. I lashed out. All because I was asked to sit in silence for a week.
But… slowly… in that space, I began to realize something. Those stories? They’re not really who I am.
My search outward had led me to the one place I didn’t want to look…Within.
Such a simple concept. Look within to know your truth. Know thyself!
But it’s so friggin hard. Yes, yes it is. But, it will change everything…
I have, and I know some of my clients have too. It’s when one aspect of your life causes so much stress, you immediately feel overwhelmed and can’t seem to do anything to move through it, so you avoid it at all costs.
I get this weird overwhelm when I’m moving. It’s not so much the looking for a new place, taking care of logistics, or even decorating a new home.
It’s the PACKING. 📦 📦 📦
Not packing to take a trip, I’m pretty good at that! It’s packing to move to a new home. Whenever I need to pack my things up into boxes. It’s something about getting and building the boxes, figuring out what goes where, cushioning things adequately, making sure nothing will break, etc. etc. It seems very straightforward, but I will sit and stare at my stuff until the day I need to leave a place and be almost moved to tears with the overwhelmed feeling. And, then, I will avoid it at all costs.
For those who know me well, this trait perplexes them. I have moved home (sometimes across this country, sometimes to another country) approximately 53 times in my life. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s about the number of times I’ve moved. I have no problem uprooting my life in pursuit of adventure, a new job, a pull of the heart. But the act of putting my stuff in boxes can cause me to sit and stare at the TV wishing it would magically all happen on its own. Yes, I know I can hire people to do this, but I feel uncomfortable having strangers going through all of my things, especially sentimental items.
Your paralytic overwhelm might be over something different. It could be when you are looking for a job, preparing a presentation, planning a family event, or something else. These moments are an opportunity to stop and look at the stories you are carrying about that action.
Are you telling yourself:
💬 I’m not capable enough. 💬 I’m not smart enough. 💬 No one would choose to hire me. 💬 I’ll never be able to do this well. 💬 I’m afraid that…
Whatever your story, there is an origin story that created it. Someone or something along the way, even if well meaning, created that space for the Story of You to include this “truth” about your character.
The good news. It’s just a story. And stories can be re-storied. ✍🏼
Find the original story that was seeded in your mind, see it, sit with it, work with it, embrace it, re-story it, move through it, and actively use this to see that you are not your story about yourself.
You never were. And there’s freedom in that!
So the next time you are feeling a paralytic overwhelm when you “need” to do something… remember to search for the origin story, and reach out if you want help Unstorying.
Welcome to the first of my new monthly Minding the Story newsletters! I’m so happy to connect and reconnect with all of you! This month, I have some musings and ramblings, course announcements, and an invitation to work with me.
Musings and Ramblings:
Many of you may know that I am not a morning person, I usually grumble and stumble my way through a morning, or intentionally schedule an appointment after 11am, so I can be fully alert and present. That was, of course, incredibly hard when I was a classroom teacher, but even if I was there with them and ready to go at 8am or earlier, my students knew that Dr. Miller was not her full self until the first cup of coffee was in hand. A story, for sure, but one that reflected decades of a body clock that preferred evenings to mornings. These days, it’s afternoons where I am most alert. We change as we move through life.
Today, I had an online workshop to attend and had to wake up very early for it, and so I “rose and shined” all the way to my living room and turned on my computer! I gathered my favorite mug and opened the curtains to a magnificent sight.
It was well worth the early morning push out of bed. What are some of the things that are more challenging for you as you move through life, and what ways are you pushing yourself towards your boundaries, and maybe experiencing something magnificent in the process?
I’m excited to announce that I will be offering a course on the web platform, Jung Platform, in Mid-March to Mid-April. This 4-session live (remote) course will look at the process of Unstorying and the ways in which we explore the hidden stories within us, also known in Jungian terms as the Shadow. The course is not available to register for quite yet, but if you are interested, I will post a link in next month’s newsletter, or you can check here for the course’s launch.
I am sending out a survey to gauge interest in a Minding the Story retreat. These retreats will infuse the process of Unstorying with creativity, mindfulness, a little mythology, and a lot of fun. Please click on the retreat survey here so I can get a sense of your interest.
An Invitation from Minding the Story Coaching:
What are some of the challenges you’ve been having recently in your life?
Have you been questioning your career options?
Wondering why you seem to repeat patterns again and again in relationships and in social interactions?
Feeling stuck in some area of your life and are unsure why?
Then reach out and book a discovery call with me. It’s free. And, it may show you a taste of the breakthroughs possible when you learn how to Unstory yourself and gain clarity and authenticity in your life.
The word “mentor” comes to us from “mentes,” which is the name of a character in Homer’s The Odyssey. It is the Greek goddess Athena who appears to Telemachus (Odysseus’ son) and Odysseus in the guise of an old man. His job is to push Telemachus to go forth and find his father, who has been away for almost two decades, and to convince Odysseus that the time is right to reclaim his wife, his palace, and his kingdom.
Telemachus was a baby when he left and the palace has been left in jeopardy and chaos in the years since. The real Mentes had been an old family friend, one who represented loyalty and trust. And it is with this persona, she inspires courage and gives him the tools to go forth on his dangerous journey.
All of this, of course, suggests that there is a divine presence in mentors. Other examples abound in myth, sacred texts, and literature. Krishna and Arjuna comes to mind from The Bhagavad Gita section of The Mahabharata as well. Are all human mentors gods or goddesses in disguise? Maybe the answer is not so direct. But there is a divine spark to the ways in which humans connect sometimes; the bonds that they make, and the intertwined destinies that push them together at certain times in their lives. Perhaps there is a deeper element working there, guiding us through the guise of another person, one who has the temperament, experience, and willingness to encourage and empower us to go on our own journeys, and the wisdom to learn what we didn’t know and to grow.
Some of the best mentors I’ve had have been humble. They rarely boasted about what they’ve accomplished, instead simply and quietly doing what calls them; working hard on their own craft, setting examples for how to handle situations and challenges. As each one came into my life, they may have been professors, employers, supervisors, friends, or passing acquaintances, none of whom charged me for the opportunity to learn from them. None of them had a “program” they wanted me to buy from them. They simply cared about me and wanted to help guide me on my path, a sort of truth-telling cheerleader as I found my way. They didn’t try to make me do things their way, they offered suggestions and clarity, but they saw me as me, and they empowered me to be more true to myself. That’s probably the biggest trait these mentors have in common. They could really see me and cared about how my life unfolded. It was never a business transaction. In fact, just about all of these mentors became friends I am still in touch with. Not all of them are on LinkedIn (But the ones that are – you know who you are!) We connected, and from their depth of being, kindness, wisdom, experience, and friendship, I grew. The other interesting thing about these mentors… if I told them that they were a mentor of mine, they would, each one, deflect the heady compliment. They were my friend, they would say. And they just wanted to help me if they could.
It is their example that I tried to carry through into my later working life. Whether working in the publicist’s chair of a book store or as a teacher in a school, if I was given the opportunity to offer wisdom and encouragement, I would. The times that I was given an assistant in my earlier career in marketing, I would train them to one day take over my job (which they often did). Others would say that this was foolish, as they’ll be vying for my job. Yes, that’s the point. I didn’t want to stay there forever either. I had my own path unfolding. I wasn’t afraid to teach and support (often) younger or less experienced people some of my wisdom and guidance to do the job well and be the best they could be. And, to always encourage them to follow their own hearts. Let their lives unfold. Dream big. I was their cheerleader. Was I screwed over sometimes? Yes, of course. Some never understood what was being offered to them. They simply saw my kindness as an opportunity to conquer. But, most of the time, I went on to watch them thrive and develop, and trust themselves more and more. Will everyone you meet be your mentor? No. You can’t force it. It is a trust relationship that develops.
I’ve spent the last two years searching for new mentors. Most have been kind, many have asked me to spend a lot of money I didn’t have for the privilege. Some have been generous beyond bounds in relation to finances and time. Some spent the whole time talking about themselves and their accomplishments, not really seeing me for me (though they really thought they had) and some saw me only as a potential client, which is very different than being their mentee. I began to realize that approaching people who charge for what they do (as I do myself for my own work) and expecting free mentoring was not fair to them. They didn’t know me, they didn’t know if I was simply trying to get coaching from them without paying for it. There was no prior relationship. It was not the best route. I thought about how I would feel if someone randomly contacted me out of the blue and asked me to mentor them. (Which has happened on occasion.) I might offer them some advice and then, do the same and ask them to sign up for a session.* But then I realized the truth of what I had experienced. Mentors often appear organically, and often through relationships you already have, and through that relationship, you notice that they care, have your best interest in mind, and see you for who you are. Mentors appear in your life when you are at that Call to Adventure and open to guidance. We have often heard the phrase attributed to, variably, Lao Tsu, the Buddha, or other wise teachers, “The Teacher will appear when the student is ready. When the student is truly ready, the Teacher disappears.”
And this leads me to my next point. Ultimately, we are our own best mentors, when we can be clear enough to listen to that inner wisdom and not the bleating mind, offering up fear stories and reactive advice based on ego. When we are quiet enough to hear that inner Mentor, we can gain wisdom, hear the guidance and the cheerleader, and grow. That’s not to say that mentors don’t also continue to appear as people… I have recently met some wonderful people through LinkedIn. That’s not a phrase I would have thought I’d say, as for most who know me, I am not a big advocate of social media… for MANY reasons. But, I’ve learned a lot from some of my newest connections. All of whom have shown up as authentic, kind, and willing to be mutual cheerleaders. This is not to say that I don’t still hire coaches or experts in their fields when I need specific insights and help. I do. People need to get paid for the work they do. But that doesn’t necessarily make them mentors. Perhaps, in time they could become mentors, or I to them. Even if we seek someone out (which we can do by looking for people who’ve walked this journey before us) and ask them to be our mentor, they may not ultimately be the right mentor for us. The right mentor will appear when the time is right. And, when they do, it feels like there is a divine presence guiding you through the guise of an ordinary human being. A being who cares about you. Who wants to see you thrive and flourish. Who helps to set you on that path to being all of who you are. A Mentes. Until one day, you realize that the ultimate mentor lives in you.
*One caveat to this is the amazing mentoring program of SCORE, which I highly recommend to people starting new businesses, and my wonderful SCORE mentors who, though having never met me before working together, have tirelessly offered their time and expertise and put up with my “different” way of doing things! It’s a free program, and I’m still in awe of their generosity.
As this year comes to a close, what are some of things you hope to leave behind in 2022?
This could be anything from the personal to the global, from a behavior to a story you carry that’s no longer serving you.
Every New Year’s Eve, I do a fire ritual, where I write those things that I no longer need to carry with me into the new year… old judgments, hurts, or habits that keep me from being more authentically me, more free, more centered, and more empowered in love and strength.
These old stories are written on pieces of torn paper, which are then thrown into the fire.
Last year, it was an outside fire pit in CA.
This year, a fireplace in NH.
If you don’t have a safe place to build a fire, you can tear the papers into tiny shreds and throw them away. Use a shredder perhaps! It doesn’t matter what method you use.
The ritual is in the symbolic claiming of your own power and the power in letting go.
A clearing the way for something new. A new way of being in yourself.
There’s a reason why we celebrate the light at this time of year…the time when the light seems most diminished.Across many faiths and many cultures, celebrations of light occur in the wintertime. Humans are always searching for that light, rejoicing when its found, and remembering it regularly, so they will never forget its importance.
The bringing of the light in the darkness is a celebration of the metaphor for the light of awareness, of awakening, of feeling safe and seen, loved, guided, and protected. It has many stories attached to it, depending on your belief system, but it offers us an opportunity to be our own light as well.
Are you willing to shift your perception of yourself and your situation to gain clarity and deeper self-awareness?
Are you feeling like you’re at a crossroads in your life and aren’t sure how to move forward?
Are you looking for true and lasting change in some aspect of your life?
Are you ready to see through the limiting stories you hold about yourself and others?