Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ego vs the soul

Via Elizabeth Gilbert.  

"Your ego is a wonderful servant.  But it's a terrible master - because the only thing your ego ever wants is reward, reward, and more reward.   Always remember this, you are not only an ego, you are also a soul.  The ego makes you feel hyper and famished; the other makes you feel calm and full."

Pure truth right there.   Wishing every single person who stops by and shares this space with me, the gift of feeling calm and full.   And when that feels impossible, I wish you the strength to keep fighting for it.  


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What I learned: in the kitchen

Two of the most profound nuggets of wisdom I will take away with me, were simply overheard in the office kitchen.  They weren't meant to be deep thoughts, they weren't agonized over - they were simply said in the morning shuffle of grabbing coffee and filling cereal bowls.....

1.  "She'll be happy there.  Because she wants to be happy there."   The context of this comment was someone's daughter being accepted into her first choice of college but when you think about it - there's such applicable universal truth to this simple statement.  Apply it to your college experience, your job, your relationships - when you *want* to be happy, it's so much easier to be happy.   

2.  "Things are never as good or as bad as they seem."  I actually forget the original context of this one.  And in the years since I've heard it, I've applied it to both the good situations and the bad.  To stay even, and avoid dizzying elation as well as temporary hopelessness is a valuable life skill.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Final Week: What I learned

So, this is it.  The final week.  What gets done will get done, and what is left behind will be left behind.   I will have tried my best and everyone will manage, the way we always have.

To keep myself from being too frustrated, I thought I would end this week with a What I learned segment - putting to practice the healing power of gratitude.  

Here is some of what I will take away that can be transferred, and hopefully helpful) to anyone, anywhere:

>  Humans possess an uncanny ability to rationalize.  The majority of the human population aren't born psychopaths and most of the time that people get themselves into trouble it isn't because of their intent to do malice.  Instead, their ability to rationalize gets the better of them.   (I learned this from an expert brought in to talk to us about insider trading but his message can be applied so far beyond finance).   Look for ways we all rationalize our behavior in relationships, as parents, as humans and stop yourself before it gets harmful.

>  Everyone possesses the potential to help you.  Do not limit your good deeds, your smiles, your "how are you?" to people that you deem "important".  Befriend the woman who cleans the office at the end of the day, the guy who manages the parking garage.   People have value and worth beyond their title.  You just might need a a held spot on the morning you're running late!

>  Einstein defines insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  If you're not satisfied with an outcome or a relationship, save yourself the aggravation of continuing to put the same strategies into place that have clearly not been working.  Attempt to solve the problem a different way, ask for help or listen to someone else's perspective, take a step away from it and revisit it with a clear mind, change the way you think about it and when all else fails - walk away.....


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Morning Pages

In The Artists Way, Julia Cameron emphasizes the work of "Morning Pages".  These three page, unedited journal entries, should be a way to cleanse the mind and eventually help make sense of your inner banter.   What continues to come up?  What can be resolved?  How do you feel and what are common triggers for feeling that way?

It's a brilliant exercise - not only for people trying to find their inner artist, but for everyone who is struggling to find more peace.   Looking back at some NTL entries, I realize that over the past 4 years they have been my "Morning Pages".   They have helped me immensely as I navigated some rocky pathways and eventually found my way.

Among the things I've learned, is the importance of intentional living.   Get quiet.  Find your intentions and then, and only then, can you create the opportunities for yourself to live them.   It may not be easy and it may not be quick, but make sure your trajectory is always heading closer to your intended life.


Monday, March 16, 2015

The Wind Down

Don't be surprised if the next few weeks are devoted to the topic of my career shift.   Last week I gave my employer my notice.   My last day will be Friday, March 27, 2015.

I joined this group in May, 2007.   We've spent 8 years together.  I came in as a newlywed.   I was in that sweet spot of about 3 years experience under my belt but still very much a novice.  I was joining one of the premier global hedge funds and was thrilled to have found the position.

We underwent considerable changes - the industry changed as regulation tightened and we experienced tremendous internal changes too.   I guess that's part of building a career.  Some things you plan for, many things you don't but if you're lucky, you live to tell about it and you learn a lot.

The way these past 8 years have influenced my life is undeniable.   I bought a house and financially achieved many goals.  I also learned that I needed more out of my career than a hefty paycheck.  I witnessed leaders in action who were patient, calm, brilliant and effective.  True role models.   I made amazing friends and was let down by people whom I thought I could trust.   I endured a high risk pregnancy, birthed a son and came back to my desk with a new identity as "working mom".  I saw how that made my perspective shift ...and how it didn't.

I have a much deeper understanding of myself and the world around me than I had when I started.  I have enjoyed myself and I have suffered - I grew.

Fifteen years ago, I used this quote in my highschool yearbook.   How true it still remains:

“This house sheltered us, we spoke, we loved within those walls. That was yesterday. Today we pass on, we see it no more, and we are different, changed in some infinitesimal way. We can never be quite the same again.”  - Daphne du Maurier

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

To Thrive

I needed a new blog.  Mine have become so stale - at no fault of their own, it must be incredibly challenging to come up with daily content year after year...     Someone once described blogs like magazines, at first they have a lot to offer but after awhile their material just seems like stuff you've already seen before. 

That's not to say I don't still have my favorites - Sweet Fine Day, Elements of Style, Soule Mama. Those always seem just right to me.   Anyways, I recently came across Chookooloonks - and fell down that glorious rabbit hole of a blog you haven't read before with a smart, fresh point of view. 

One post that particularly caught my eye, was the series she's done asking 40 year old+ women what it means to Thrive.   You can see the entire project on her site - and I highly recommend it - but for a shorter synopsis, below are definitions people gave her when she asked what it means to Thrive.  I gave the exercise some thought too.   For me,  to thrive is to exist with purpose.  To pursue personal growth, authentic self acceptance and peace in both my inner and outer experience.    

"To live passionately.  To live with conviction."  ~ Melissa
"For me, it is to flourish, in spite of challenges and hardship."  ~  Meg
"To thrive is to blossom into someone who loves themself."  ~  Alexandra
"Eudaimonia.  Isn't that just the best word??"  ~ Angela
"To thrive is to live, with love and purpose."  ~  Jennifer
"A powerful word for me.  I define it in contrast to merely surviving.  Surviving is living in relation to one's wounds.  Sometimes it's the best we can do.  But thriving is living beyond them."  ~  Kyran
"Living abundance."  ~  Lucrecer
"To maintain the gift of being present with the present."  ~  Sara
"To be operating from a mature, calm, satisfied part of your brain.  To be 'doing well' and not agonized or in distress; to be growing and experiencing joy."  ~  Heather
I believe to thrive is to live an exuberant, celebratory life. - Chookooloonks.