Sunday, November 2, 2008


Listening to my six-year old practice piano this morning reminded me of the past six weeks.

He was playing a simple song with a pleasing melody (on the white keys) that ended in very harsh cords (on the black keys).

Most of us enjoy when our lives are like the white keys: things sound, feel and appear to be in flow, harmony and in synch.

But the black keys--the sound and feeling of discord--can cause us to go into judgment, criticism, discomfort, irritation or even anger.

My wise friend, internationally-known parenting coach Gail Allen (512-476-7999—one of the ways she stays “in balance” is to stay offline), talks a lot about our kids going in and out of equilibrium and disequilibrium, as they navigate new developmental stages. Guess what?! As adults, we experience the same thing.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been at this level of disequilibrium. It feels like a distant relative has to come to visit that I don’t like very much. And, I’m ready for her to leave.

My disequilibrium is centered largely around small business issues: figuring how to run two businesses on a limited flex-schedule, start-up pains, staffing challenges, feeling pulled in too many directions at once, not feeling as focused as I’d like. (If you know Myers Briggs, I’m an ENTJ—this MB type can really get worked up when their work style is not as effective or efficient as it could be!)

My brother likes to say you have to break down before you can break through! He also believes in the chaos theory, as do I: what on the surface might look disorderly, is, underneath unfolding in quiet perfection.

Still, disequilibrium doesn’t feel too fun.

Over the years, since I’ve had the privilege of leading women’s self-renewal circles, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me during these seemingly chaotic times. I’ll share some ideas, in case they might help you, too:

1. Ask for help: get a bird’s eye view of what is frustrating you from a savvy, big picture, objective source (I’m working on this right now).
2. Breathe. And, move your body. Staying physically stuck, can cause your thinking to stay stuck, too.
3. Move into extreme self care: what do you need to feel physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually nourished? Self-care can help shift your perspective radically.
4. Surround yourself with people who support you. And don’t spend time around those who don’t. Period.
5. Release, let go and surrender. “For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe.” Larry Eisenberg
6. Stay with the feeling. Feel it, but give it breathing room and don’t let it drag you into a “thought attack” (what happens when you allow one thought to feed on another until you’ve worked yourself up into a feeding frenzy of stressful or negative emotions).

I know it’s a crazy time for many of us. My intention is that we can all dig a little deeper over the next couple of months and show extra compassion for one another. I say, let the sane help the insane! Because sooner or later we’ll have all experienced both ends of the spectrum. :)

Take good care this week. And, don’t forget to vote on Tuesday.

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