I've been shooting some videos this week. Four of them so far. Here are the links:
The videos are due to two different inspirations. First, Gary Jackman, a friend who went through the same coaching training program as I did, has been doing a 99 videos in 99 days challenge and I decided to give it a try to support him. At the same time, I recently watched Netflix's Grace and Frankie, starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. In a few of the episodes, Frankie (Tomlin) clips her iPhone down and videos herself talking about whatever is going on at the moment. By the end of the first season, Grace (Fonda) has taken a turn herself and had what I would call, a very nice epiphany about who she is and what she wants out of life.
As I explain in video #3, I have been active in self development since roughly 2000. For my own benefit. Long story short, I didn't like my life. I decided to change it. As a result I am now in this very interesting place. First, of course I am interested in sharing the things I have learned with other people. Second, it has delivered me to a place where I am learning who I am.
You know that lifetime you've spent making note of everything from brussels sprouts to mean people that you don't like? I'm not looking for my "no's" anymore. From the moment we first get hurt in life, we seem to want to create a list of things we'd rather avoid.
Did you know that, emotionally, excitement and fear stand right next to each other and it can be indiscernible which one you are actually experiencing? At the bottom of the pit of the life I wanted to change, I lost driving into San Francisco and many amusement park rides because I was avoiding that uncertain, unsettling feeling by just saying "no." I've already said no. A lot. I'm interested in all of my "yes's." I'm actually creating a list of things I consider to be quintessential Angela.
Of course, I do have one no in the bunch. It turns out, after a lifetime of not having lobster because I wanted to spare whoever was paying for my dinner that price, I'm not a big fan. When I finally had it because I was paying myself, I would have preferred the lamb I normally would have ordered.
At the same time, it gave me a small epiphany. I live for the small epiphanies. It is from the small epiphanies that I have become the changed version of Angela I enjoy today.
Essentially there is an imaginary list of myriad things we can enjoy if we are rich and powerful. We assume if we had those things, we would be happy. You know why money doesn't buy happiness? Because so many of us don't really know who we are or what we really want. Instead we have a grievance list of all the things that taste bad and the things or people we've encountered who suck.
One of the things I've learned along the way is if you simply focus on what makes you happy, you feel happier. If you focus on the good, feeling good is like shooting fish in a barrel. It is a done deal.
In addition to our list, we tend to have a bias not to change. At some point along the way, we hurt ourselves and we blamed change. "Why does everything have to change?" We moan. "Why can't everything stay the same?" We seem to feel that way even when everything isn't so great just because we are afraid of things becoming even worse. We live our lives boxed in by our fears.
Which is not to say I never feel afraid anymore. Of course I do. I am an adult, now orphaned, unmarried only child who never had any children of her own. I am the quintessential "the cheese stands alone." If I let my fears run loose, my mind could come up with a lot of sad horror stories out of that. But, if I did that, I would be sad and afraid not happy like I am now. After all, I've been an only child my entire life. It is only as an adult when I began to consider what I should be doing or who should be in my life that I felt any fear about being alone. Every one of those should(s) practically leapt off that list of things I don't want. Every one of those should(s) was considered to protect me. Between my parents over protecting me and me over protecting me, it's a wonder I've ever had a chance to live at all.
I want to live. I want to throw my arms around life and bury my face in her fur. You can't do that if the thought of it makes you timid and afraid you might not like it. From what I've learned, better to shrug off life's icky parts and devote your attention to savoring life's wonderful pleasures instead. Leave those dishes dirty in the sink and spend an extra ten minutes watching that sunset. Sure the dishes will still be there. Sure they might begin to stink. And sure that time spent watching a beautiful sunset will simply be wasted if all you do while you finally wash those dishes is complain and say you SHOULD have washed them earlier. So don't do that. Instead, remind yourself with each and every dish just how beautiful that moment was. Don't regret your joyful moments simply because of a nuisance of inconvenience.
And stop looking to be offended by everything all the time. Looking to be happy = happy. Looking to be offended = offended.
You've heard the saying, of course, "It is always in the last place you look?" Have you ever thought, "Of course it is because you STOP looking!" Life is exactly the same way. What you look for, you will see. Every time. Isn't it time you start building yourself a better world?