What I’ve Been Thinking…

This past week on Facebook, there have been multiple daily posts about the Harvey Weinstein saga. Here’s a man who had a great deal of power in the entertainment/movie industry and who would prey on young attractive women to satisfy his sexual urges. Additionally, he threatened, abused, induced fear and derailed the professional careers of what sounds like dozens of women. And with each story I read, it resonates with me with my experiences that I have had and have heard about of other woman I know, that this man, this culture isn’t endemic to the entertainment industry; it’s everywhere.

And yet, we also hear women who may have had interactions with him, but managed to avoid, side-step, or duck and roll their way outta there, seemingly unharmed – disturbed yes, but generally unscathed. What did these woman have that the others did not?

I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my angle here… what Harvey Weinstein did was wrong and I hope our justice system serves not just the victims, but the community. There are many lessons to be learned here.

My angle is one of getting curious about what these victims – if they could do anything different – if they could influence the next generation of young women, what advice, what lessons, what would they do differently in the same situation? We may all be created equal, but life has a way of imprinting into our psyche powerful associations that trigger us and launch our reactions and behaviors in different ways.

As a parent of two teenagers, I hope and pray that my husband and I have done enough to instill good choices in our children. In their younger years, we practiced safety and stressed the importance of using the tools available to us for them to protect themselves. Wearing your helmet, seatbelt, locking doors, and always letting a parent/guardian know your whereabouts. But what if your home life hasn’t been a safety zone? These many lessons get minimized, ignored or mocked.

I listened to a video clip where Emma Thompson was interviewed by the BBC. She calls out the “crisis of masculinity” and that it’s been a part of our culture since the beginning of time. Should there be “leadership” classes in schools? If they learned it and practiced it at school, would it get undone when at home?

I learned much later in life about the dysfunctional culture in which I grew up. I started to connect the dots when I finally took a good hard look at the patterns in my life. I could give you a long list of others to blame for them but at the end of the day, I was the common denominator. I just didn’t have the tools or know-how to do it any other way.

I read stories of women who stood up to the Harvey Weinstein’s of the world and I admire them. I take notes. And I imagine myself handling the situation similarly. It empowers me.

I also imagine what my life could have been like if I had learned the lessons, had better tools and skills from which to use to handle difficult situations while navigating life. It’s become my mission to learn them, share them and help others (especially my kids!) to gain them. It’s a long and arduous process to undue, heal, forgive and relearn experiences. If anything, the struggle has given me perspective and many opportunities with which to connect with people.

In the words of Brene Brown, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” It’s why I became a certified coach. It’s the work I do. I provide that safe space in which others can be vulnerable. It’s a space that rarely exists for people – and so desperately needed.

Advertisements

Trappings of the mundane

There are days where I seem to wake up to the reality that I’m not at the wheel of my life – that other people (kids, spouse, other family, etc.) – request my attention (opportunity) to serve them. And it is an automatic response to just do. It’s fulfilling. Feels good to do for others. Rewarding.

But then there are the tasks; the mundane, albeit important when they don’t get done, that engulf the minutes, hours, days that have a way of defining my role and worth in life. This is what I get caught in – the trappings of the mundane. At times, they are rather therapeutic as a lose myself in the task only to be woken by my alarm to grab the car keys and fetch a kid. And at the end of the day, I have nothing to show for what it is that I truly want in life.

I’m overwhelmed by it – the mundane – and it’s got me caught on a hamster-wheel that I am challenged to jump off of.

So I put events into my schedule to look forward to, or block out time for those worthwhile tasks that put me in the driver’s seat again. I seem to go from one guard rail to the other – bouncing back and forth as I navigate toward something – is there a finish line? Is that what I’m missing? A visual? A daily reminder to keep me in check?

I hit pause, reboot, and start over. And ask myself, how can I maintain a smoother ride because this is not a ride I’m enjoying today.

So what are my keystones? (The events/tasks that I need to have in my life – daily, weekly, etc. – my checklist)

  • Exercise
  • Healthy eating
  • Rest

All three have been on the back burner lately.

What are the events/tasks that keep me in the driver’s seat?

  • Working my business plan, writing, coaching
  • Connection with family / friends

What are the events/tasks that derail/overwhelm me?

  • Housework
  • Yardwork
  • Expectations – mine or others (or made up)
  • When I feel abandoned
  • Not having someone I feel safe talking to – venting – exploring

Can anyone relate? How do you keep yourself ‘in check’?

Reboot.

It’s what I do when my smart phone is acting up. When I’ve exhausted every imaginable instruction, trick and hack, I reboot… in a last resort sort of way. “Why don’t I just do it first?” I wonder. It takes time. It disconnects me from that which keeps me connected to the world. And, quite frankly, I don’t trust that everything will load the same way again and it will be worse off.

After working in the corporate sector for over 15 years, I decided to take a professional pause. I could have given you a long list of reasons NOT to take one including one that I still believe in – never let go of your ability to fend for yourself. In a world that has told me repeatedly that my worth is directly linked to my job title and the number of zeros on a paycheck, I chose to let it all go.

It was humiliating. I felt reduced. Disgraced. Shamed. I felt a deep sense of rejection that took me months to rise up from. But I also believe that change is good… and that I always end up in a better place. It’s a narrative I’ve held close to my chest and that I’ve relied on.

It gave me space and time to rest, reflect, and plan a do-over.

In that pause, I looked at the patterns that have evolved in my life – great ones – and ones I didn’t like. I learned the one strategy that made all the difference in creating a different outcome. I created a vision for what I wanted for myself and road map on how to get there.

In essence, I rebooted myself, and changed the narrative on which I was basing my story.

I still get glitchy from time to time. What about you? If you could reboot, what would be different?