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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Yodaish Wisdom

"So sure are you.  With you it is always, 'I can not.'" 

Do you have little voices in your head too?  Not the ones that mean you are crazy, (at least not entirely so) but the ones coming from your best or worst selves, telling what 'reality' is; What you can not have, what you can not do, what you can not be? 

What if you could? What if you didn't listen to the worst part of you, and only listened to the Yodaish wisdom of the best part of you?  Could you change how you feel?  Your life?  How you look at your future? Your past?  

 I learned about a little game.  It is playful and fun and just makes you feel good.  It is from and is called the 'What if' game.  (Or Wouldn't it be great if. . . )
Basically, you merely take where you are, and shift your focus to another true, but more 'feel good' place of possibilities.  

For instance.  My husband wants a truck.  We aren't currently in a position to go out and buy a new truck.  He could then, logically and realistically look at the perfect Harley-model F-150 in the next lane and say, "I'll never have that truck.  Why bother looking at it?  I'd have to get another job to afford it and then I'd never have time to enjoy it."  All of which are honest, realistic and probably true. . .but. . . they do NOT make either of us feel very good.  Instead, we can change it around to equally true statements like, "What if I was driving that truck right now?"  "What if someone gave me that truck?"  "What if I put a photo of that truck by my computer to inspire me?"  All of these statements are just as true, and definitely make us both happier and in a better mood.  Nothing has changed but what we've chosen to focus on.  

Try it.  What if all your dreams came true?  Wouldn't it be great?

"So positive are you.  Think you that anything is possible?"  

I do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Once I was young. . .

Today I am Fifty.

While that might have an ominous ring to it (and believe me it does), I also look back at what that means.  I have lived thus far, a good life for the most part.  Far from story-book perfection, but certainly better than 98% of the world's population.  That brings me to the topic of gratitude.  While there are certainly some grumbles associated with a new decade before me, mostly I find that I am increasingly aware and grateful for all that I have NOT had to experience, and all that I have been blessed to.

 My memories are a collection of happy experiences, delightful and loving connections and educational encounters.  Before me is a wide open expanse of possibilities.  The mirror could be more gentle, and yet it is possibly a pretty good friend with a bit of gentle chiding mixed in with the honest appraisal to be found there.  It could be worse afterall.

50 years ago, I came into this world with a holler.  I suspect that I'm entering my next decade with one as well, albeit a sort of inner one.  It can be a struggle to face change head on.  It can be daunting, frightening, a little discouraging with a touch of mourning for what you are leaving behind as well.  It can also be exhilarating, fresh, hopeful and exciting.  I expect that the key is to decide which to simply acknowledge with respect, and which to embrace and focus on. 

Looking over the collection of 'what is', I find a delightful assortment of people who love and support me; physical objects that bring back lovely memories and bring joy and delight; health and opportunities; a supportive and loving husband and children who adore me and let me know they do. I am blessed with a rich spiritual life and knowledge of my divinity.  I have a career helping others find their own joy and success.  Who could be unhappy with all the major things in place?  Besides, I have two of the greatest, my beautiful and intelligent and delightful grandbabies on the planet. 

Life is good. 

Bring it on.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pioneering Today

(Photo from:
The return of good times is not wholly a matter of money. There is prosperity to living which is quite as important as prosperity of the pocketbook. It is not enough to be willing to make the best of things as they are. Resignation will get us nowhere. We must build what amounts to a new country. We must revive the ideals of the founders. We must learn the new values of money. It is time for pioneering – to create a new security for the house and the family…Where we were specialists in spending, we are now becoming specialists in living.” This editorial is from the Ladies Home Journal in October, but I'm not going to tell you what year just yet.

I chose the above photo to go with today's thoughts because my husband is a fisherman.  He absolutely loves the outdoors, the thrill of the chase, the idea of conquering.  I come from rich pioneer stock.  I'm often awed by my ancestry and the things these women suffered and overcame.  These are difficult times.  These are days with worry and financial concerns, health issues and even safety and security issues knocking constantly at our doors.  Yes we press on.

"It is not enough to be willing to make the best of things as they are." - Like our pioneer grandmothers, we too are adventurors.  We are in our own 'great outdoors' with so many things luring us in, vying for our time, our attention and our resources.  I loved the conclusion, "We are now becoming specialists in living."    We are making hard choices, and looking forward.  We are living in the moment and recognizing our worth.  We are reaching further and doing more, but sometimes I fear we do not give ourselves enough credit.  Our contributions are valuable and measurable.  What is our new security?  It is in the knowledge that we are not alone, we are not insignificant and we are not left without resources. 

Today's pioneers are people who are willing to face the challenges with an attitude of curious optimism.  People who look back for ideas, hints and inspiration, but then take those bits of wisdom and apply them in new and exciting ways to the events of their present.  We are remembering what worked in the past, and are willing to choose new ways, new ideas while incorporating true ideals.  We are the people of tomorrow, yes, but more importantly, we are the people of today. 

The quote is from Octobor 1932. Funny how real truths do not change.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I attended a lecture once where the speaker showed a video.  It began with a man in an elevator. After a short bit, other people entered.  They all faced the back of the elevator. The original man, obviously very confused, turned around and stood facing the back of the elevator also.  This continued as the group of people changed directions or took off heir hats.  Different people would be the 'odd man out'.  It was curious to watch how some would nonchalantly clear their throats and inch into conformity, while others would immediately follow the crowd.  Which type are you?  None of those shown continued to do their 'own thing' without regard to the majority. 

Sometimes it is essential to 'fit in'.  Life would be chaotic if people were so obstinate that they refused to do anything that 'everyone else was doing' for instance, sitting quietly in a church, saluting the flag, following traffic signals as per the laws of the land.  However, there is plenty of time in our lives where conformity is not only unnecessary, but damaging as well.

There is much said of late of being 'authentic'.  How do I know if I am or not?  How do you?  Do we examine ourselves through the mirror of society?  Our family?  Our religious convictions?  Is it even possible to ignore all of those, and be an 'individual'?  So many of the (and I'll pick on teens for the purpose of their notoriety at trying to be different)  groups that are known to be going against social 'norms', actually only succeed in being 'differently' the same.  They dress alike, act similarly, patronize the same groups and even 'hang out' at the same places. 

Where do you refuse to conform? 

I have always thought of myself as a bit 'different'.  But I was sorely disappointed to learn that in a national poll, 65% of the participants described themselves as 'unique'.  Wouldn't that then make being 'unique' the 'norm'?  Hummmm. 

Perhaps the answer lies in our reasons for conformity and non-conformity.  As long as we realize that we are acting in a certain way, making certain choices because those are the choice that WE wish to make, I believe we are being authentic and unique. When we examine our motives and find (embarrassingly so) that we are merely going along with the crowd because it is 1. easier, 2. expected but we don't want to really. 3. mindlessly or 4. As a victim; it may be time to reaccess our choices and consider what our gut truly urges us to change. 

Healthy choices are made with thoughtful consideration as to motive, consequence and authenticity.  SO go ahead, stand backwards in the elevator if you really want to.  Listen to Frank Sinatra even if your friends think you are nuts.  Take a rappelling class even if you are over 50. . .but for goodness sakes, please don't decide that red lights no longer apply to you. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Who are you? 

In our current society, that seems to be the buzz-word for almost any endevor.  We Tweet ourselves, we Blog ourselves, we Facebook and Spacebook (Yeah, I know it is wrong) and put ourselves 'out there' in so many levels.  What does all of this say about us? 

Socrates' guiding wisdom was to , "Know Thyself."  Does this mean that everyone else must know us too?  What does the world know about me?  If you enter my name into google (depending on if you use my name now, my name a year ago, or my 'online name' Chantaclair) you'll get hundreds of returns.  Will that compilation actually allow anyone to understand and know me?

Perhaps they will believe so, and yet I'm not certain that I know myself fully even yet.  Life is a series of knowing.  Knowing what I want, who I am, who I was, who I can be, all rattle around my thoughts.  Do they yours as well? 

I've learned that branding, presenting, knowing, is all about who I wish to present myself as.  In different venues I allow different attributes, success and even failures to be made public.  This allows the relationships to be as intimate or as formal as I am comfortable with.  Here on this blog for instance, I allow my thoughts to be known.  There are few details of my personal life, my wishes or my dreams, because that is not my intent.  As a life-coach, it is better for a client to know me professionally, and thus allow the relationship to remain at a certain helpful distance. 

Who am I?  I expect I am many different things to many different people, but in the end, who I am to myself is possibly the most powerful knowing of them all.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Battle of the Sexes

Carol Gilligan says that "Women perceive things in terms of relationships and connections and men perceive things in terms of individuality and autonomy" .

(Borrowed the graphic from "Indivisible, a Marriage Strengthener" - David Shaffer)

Whether  or not you agree with her, it is an interesting topic and certainly one that society perpetuates.  Perhaps though, it would be better if we did both, took a nice long look at what we are alike in, and what we differ in. 

For myself, I know it is very true.  However, I'm also a Blue, an Aquarian, a Redhead and an INFJ.  All of which equates to RELATIONSHIPS. . .

It may be hard-wired in us, as the 'gatherers' vs the 'hunters' in our genetic coding.  Our ancestors moved together in groups, watching each other's backs, picking up what her neighbor missed and chatting and assisting the group.  The hunters on the other hand went out often in groups, but groups that separated silently, watched each other's backs, but focused side by side rather than face to face, and sought their own prowess and to prove their worth. 

Everything I do almost, has to do with some relationship in my life.  Every resource I expend, has to do with improving, repairing or maintaining one of those relationships.  For my husband, I'm not sure it is the same.  While the people in his life are important, so is fishing.  Going out, casting in his luck and skill, and hopefully, ultimately capturing with his prowess, ingenuity and brute strength. . . the prize.  His focus is to NOT need anyone else (even me), but to WANT them.  There is his power.  His autonomy.  (I hope he'll forgive me for psychoanalyzing him publicly. . . he hates that.)

How do we then mesh the seemingly opposite core needs?

I've learned that it has to do less with compromise and adjustment (That many self-help guru's will recommend) and more to do with simply first SEEING that everyone isn't just like me, and then allowing them that privilege.  While my needs don't change with that insight, my expectations do.  Expectations that are unmet, are often the biggest fuel for discontentment.  If I understand that someone's core value is NOT relationships, but perhaps success, or enjoyment or even simplicity, then I am able to say, "I understand" and release my expectations or reform them.  That brings balance. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Profound Connection

I was reading something today that really bothered me.  I love 'the Comfort Queen' by Jennifer Louden. She is funny, insightful and very helpful in creating an abundant life.  However, sometimes it is very evident that my goals and morality separates me from even those that I admire.  She said something to the affect of, "My connection and commitment with my women's group is as strong as with my marriage."  I find that highly disturbing.  Perhaps that is the very essence of why so many marriages fail.  We do not initially, or internally place them in the highest regard.  We no long respect their place in our lives as not merely another relationship, but as the first human relationship, second only to that with the Divine. 

If we are 'ONE'. . . it is impossible to disconnect from our mate and put that relationship in a compartment.  We can not expect to have a thriving fulfilled marriage, if we are merely placing it on the save level as a woman's group, other extended family members, career relationships, even best friends or children.  To have a Profound Connection, it is essential that we first and foremost place the marriage mentally, priority and emotionally at the very top of our focus.  

This does not mean that we disappear inside of it.  Far from that.  We must, if we are to remain vibrant and connected, stay in touch with what we want most and how that is related to our partnership.  Instead of 'having to' adjust what we do, desire and expend our energies on, the only way to obtain that profound connection is to WANT to.  It must be our deepest desire, our superseding focus and our richest reward. 

When we become 'one', we truly can not think in terms of 'mine' any longer.  Everything we think, do, consider, experience, share, fear and rejoice in, is connected to our partner.  That is when the connection becomes profound.  That is when our intimate life becomes something sacred, even holy.  That is when our spirituality meshes so firmly with our emotions and our physicality, that we become fully one. 

IF Ye are not One, Ye are not Mine. . . (D&C 38:27).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Health and Illness and Downtime

There are days when we all feel a bit 'under the weather'.  Days when we aren't up to our usual energetic and productive selves, we tend to write them off and (after they are over of course) actually almost enjoy the 'down time'.  Then there are weeks that stretch on and you feel like you'll never be 'back'.  That can be daunting on your enthusiasm and outlook.  It feels like things might not ever be back to 'normal' and even starts to sort of feel like 'normal' is this icky-less-than-well feeling of being ill. 
So, what is the good news? How do we filter through all the negative self-talk and the iggling little deamon on our shoulder who keeps whispering that we will never feel good again?  The only answer I've found, is to embrace the feeling of 'unwellness' with a stipend that it is only temporary.  Even as the 24-hour expected flu turns into a three-day 'something' and then after a day of 'almost-but-not-quite' day of feeling better, the nasties descend once more.  As I look over my to-do list and the demands on my resources, energy and time, I realize that the world has a way of insiting it gets its way.  Perhaps this is a time for me to do less.  Perhaps this is a time to shift focus from doing, and reach deeper into the BE-ing part of myself.

A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.~     Hippocrates (460 BC - 377 BC), Regimen in Health

So, to Health, contemplation, quiet and slow recovery. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Life Coaching

Many have asked 'What is a Life-Coach'.  In our crazy world, there are so many resources and challenges to face.  While therapists are highly beneficial in many cases, most of us don't feel comfortable, nor do we actually require therapy.  The difference is one of focus.  In Life-coaching, we look forward.  We determine the resources you already have, the areas where you most would like to focus and we share and discover and uncover and rediscover the tools to move forward. 

Looking at why we arrived where we are if we are lost can be helpful, but usually it is more helpful to see where we want to go, and how to get there from where we are currently.  It may be interesting to see where we went wrong, but where we take the next step is really the only thing that will get us up and moving. 

Like a fitness coach, or a business coach, or even a relationship coach, a life-coach has the tools, the ability and the skills to guide you along your own personal path to success and balance. 

Marsha Keller CLC CMT

Here are a few of my favourite life-coaching tools and blogs:

Elia Gourgoris - Life Coach

Monday, January 4, 2010

Does Motivation Last?

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. ~ Zig Ziglar

New year, new chances, new goals, new resolutions.  New, new, new. . . like a just-made baby, we love new things.  We love the smells, the freshness, the ability to forget the old and start over again. Still, it descends on us too often shortly after the newness has worn off, and we wonder why it doesn't last. 

There is something inherently beautiful about renewal.

Empty to be Filled

I've often wondered
about the rhythms of life
the emptying
the sleeping
the eating.

Why are we so high maintenance?
Why must I be interrupted to pause?
What are the lessons to be taught?

Insomniac ponderings
about the stillness of rest,
the natural purging
of impurities
and the hunger to being attended to
caught my attention.

Why can we not go forever
without sleep?
Why must we pause
to allow our bodies to fill
and empty
time and again?

Then, as I lay in sleepless quiet
it occurred to me
the lessons I needed to learn.

That the emptying
was as important as the filling.
To leave room for more,
I needed to toss the old.

Old thoughts, possessions
even relationships. . .
so that there was room
for the new, the updated
the fresh.

I realized my quiet
was as much 'being'
as my busyness. 
That my mind was as productive
in my velvet night pause
as in my productive moments
of brainstorming.

I learned that I must refuel
my soul, my spirit
my body. . . often.
It isn't something glanced at once
then left to languish into disrepair.
Not in my being,
Not in my home
Not in my relationships
Not in my family
or education
or spiritual nurturing
or emotional health.

The natural rhythms of the physical
is merely a lesson
for the whole. 

Empty to be full.
Fill to be renewed
Be still to refresh.
''Being'' is more than 'doing'.

---<--{@ Marsha Steed Keller

This year I'm going to work on BEing.  The Now.  The today in my forever.  I want to simplify more, live richer, notice more and live my best life, especially when no one is around to notice.