antiSurvival Mode

When I tell people about my life, how I travel, barter and have no homebase, it’s not uncommon for the response to be, ‘Why would you live that way?‘.

My answer is always the same: Because I love my life!

I choose this life, very intentionally, every day.

Just a handful of years ago my life looked very different. Back in 2013 I was working at my ‘successful’ corporate job, putting in my 60+ hours a week and theoretically life was pretty amazing. I worked a high-level job at the happiest place on earth, owned a home in a trendy part of town, with a nice car. My ‘successful’ even went beyond the tangible, I also had a supportive Partner, loving family, great social life etc.

Never the less, one day I found myself daydreaming and I asked myself, if I could design my life to look any way I wanted, what would that look like? The answer surprised me and left me feeling like I was sleepwalking through someone else’s dream. This version of ‘success’, the one that I was living, wasn’t what I would choose at all! My life suddenly felt foreign that I set out to transform my world.

Flash forward a few years and here I am, living that exact daydreamed life.

I’ve managed to design a world where I do very few things out of obligation. I actively work (and it is work) to notice where I’m making decisions about my life based on fear, scarcity or a reaction to something – I call this survival mode. When I catch myself in survival mode I very intentionally inquire into it, see what I’m afraid of, how can I shift my perspective or find another action to take, how can I design my world? I call this creative, intentional perspective the antiSurivival Mode.

antiSurvival Mode has lead me to live a life full of adventure, connections and experiences. But for some, antiSurvival Mode leads to buying a home and having a family, or perhaps a shift in career and becoming a local community leader. For some, it’s just a matter of living a quiet life that is fulfilling and cozy. There’s no right way – my only wish is that you do it, your way.

Another question I often get asked is why I chose to share my life so thoroughly and transparently with so many people. I’ve been sharing my life for years, I’ve blogged about my experiences since even before ‘social media’ was a thing. The answer for this question is easy too.

I share because I hope to inspire others. My goal is to inspire you to seek out your own version of life in antiSurvival mode and design a world that you’re in love with.

Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day in the US. This is a National Holiday intended to have us remember those who gave their lives in service of the country (commonly confused with Veteran’s Day.)

I’ve talked before about how I’m empathic, with so many people focused on mourning, tragedy, loss, confusion the energy is thick.

I have what I call my God Button, a spot just behind my jawbone on the right side, where I’ll feel pressure when Spirit is attempting to talk to or through me. When I ignore it, it develops into a migraine. Sometimes I don’t know what Spirit is trying to say….like today.

That headache finally started to dissipate about an hour ago when I started going through my contacts and sending a text to all my friends who have been deployed, lost family while on active duty etc. I simply said ‘you have my love and gratitude on this day’, a message that seemed cryptic and overly simplified at first, but based on responses is exactly what was needed. It’s a constant journey to learn how to listen and be of service. 

Rite of Passage with a Razor

Today, as I showered I had a vivid memory of the first time I shaved my legs. In my house, it was almost a rite of passage. For most, it seems that a girl’s first cycle is the rite of passage. Not me. For me it was shaving.

With most things related to physically maturing, I just did it myself, for example, I stole feminine supplies from my mom for a year before she realized. I fudged my age and got piercings without permission. But for some reason, I honored my parents and waited on the shaving bit. It may have had something to do with me being blonde and it not being super impactful but I don’t really know.

It finally happened going into the summer I would turn 14. When I showed Mom my new swimsuit, well, it was obviously time if you get the drift. I remember sitting in our bathroom with the horribly ugly green marble tile Mom by my side. She had her leg up and demonstrated a stroke and then I would mimic on my own leg. She gave me tips on how to handle the danger zones, ankles, knees etc. and how I could save time by stopping at my shorts line if I wouldn’t be swimming anytime soon. She allowed me to get a variety of razors and creams, even expensive ones, so I could determine which I liked best.

Not sure why I remembered this experience in the shower today, it could be related to all the loss I’ve experienced lately. Going to funerals where moments are rehashed and cherished and wondering if the deceased realized how valued they were.

No matter. Thanks Mom, for taking the time to give me the experience of a rite of passage. To this day, I rarely cut myself while shaving and still use the same razors I decided on back then. You done good.

I find it interesting how I don’t remember being eager to join the shaving women of America. I know I sat there with my fuzzy legs while friends talked about waxing, shaving, nair, but I don’t remember feeling left out, or grateful or reluctant either. Just indifferent. Which is odd given how opinionated I am. I also find it interesting that I never questioned that I should shave, it never occurred to me to go natural. It certainly occurs to me now. I daydream about a society where smooth doesn’t equal sexy and in winter months I get quite soft and furry…but now we’re getting into a whole other topic.

This memory has left me curious about a few things.

Can you remember your first time shaving?

Have you experienced a rite of passage, what was it?

Priorities trump plans

I planned to be based out of Orlando through the holidays, mid-November until the end of the year, that was the plan. My Platonic Wife, Sarah, has a spare room and loves having me stay so being in town for 6-8 weeks, not a problem. I did manage to get away for a week in Vegas with My Guy, Kirk, in December, and the plan became to go back on the road mid-January.

Best people watching spot in Vegas

Then, something happened. Kirk’s mom went to the hospital complaining of chest pain. The drugs they had her on left her groggy which meant she couldn’t be trusted to communicate/process information from the hospital staff so a family member needed to be there most of the time. I put myself in the rotation and did my daily shift, picked up food, reminded people to sleep, shower…you know the routine. Twenty-four days and 1 open heart surgery later she was discharged. Kirk went back to work, I checked in on the Mom-in-Love regularly and began to plan to get back on the road.

Mom-in-love on way home from hospital

Then, something happened. I went to the specialist about Ms. Gallbladder and was informed she needed to be retired. At first the surgeon said it wasn’t urgent, when I described my lifestyle and that I didn’t plan to be back in town until November he said, Never mind, in your case, it’s urgent. So, I got on the schedule to have laparoscopic surgery in late March, thinking I’d be good as new by early April.

Drugged and ready for surgery

As I recovered I began to get excited about the upcoming European trip with Sarah & Kirk, we were all set to leave in late April. I was hoping all of the soul evolution I’d experienced over the past months would gel as I adventured (as tends to happen with me) such that by the time we returned I’d have clarity and be ready to get back on the road.

Then (are you noticing a pattern here?), something happened. Kirk’s sister had surgery a week before we were scheduled to leave for Europe. While the surgery initially seemed to be successful, a couple of days later there were complications and his sister passed on. We sent Sarah off to Europe (more on that later) and I stayed behind to support him through some very difficult weeks filled with funeral arrangements, family drama and the like.

Dude, with all of these plans down the drain, I’m not going to lie, there were some moments of real frustration. I’m a traveler! I belong on the road! Yet. I’m clear on my priorities:

  1. Me
  2. Family
  3. Joy/Freedom (aka Travel)
  4. Business/Money

Supporting my family and taking care of my own health comes first. Period.

It’s funny, last year this time I was faced with a situation where having clear priorities helped. Last year I was considering a return to corporate to support the house I owned, but when I looked at my priorities it made more sense to sell it. I’m so glad I did.

Similarly, this year I’m so glad I stayed in town. Being there allowed some amazing growth and evolution in my relationship with My Guy. Being there for those emotionally charged times in his family also allowed me to see some new things about myself.

Family Bonding Time

The original plan for Europe was to travel as a Triad. I planned everything, I had worked out all of the transportation, most things were in my name, I’d been practicing the languages. I was going to be their guide. Sarah had never traveled alone or been overseas before. I’m so proud of her for having the courage to go solo, so stinking proud. And she had some amazing experiences she wouldn’t have gotten if we’d been with her. (side note, we got a lot of money back given the circumstances of our cancellation, and she used the things that were nonrefundable, so it wasn’t a huge financial hit)

Sarah in Morrocco

The time in Orlando also allowed me to complete all three levels of Reiki training which has opened up a whole new path in my Spiritual evolution. I’ve given dozens of distance healings and realized it’s something I really enjoy and has added another layer to the services I offer in my barters. I also had time to establish some healthy habits with a personal trainer, and deepen some friendships.

Plans are great. I spend a lot of time helping others define a strategy and plans to fulfill that strategy. It’s just as important to have clarity on your priorities so you know when to ignore the plans and go with the flow.

Like I said, I spent time being frustrated by this, and, I quickly came to see the value in the shift in plans to align to my priorities. I think it happened more quickly this year than last and that’s all I can really hope for, to learn and grow along the way.

Attitude Adjustments (& Surgery Update)

It’s been four days since Ms. Gallbladder retired.

I was told to be on total bed rest for 48 hours following surgery, after that it’s up to me how I handle the healing process. Of course, I decided, in advance how that would go. I decided that by the end of the week I’d be back to ‘normal’ activity, maybe just eating carefully.

Well, it’s now the end of the week. I woke up at 1pm. This is not ‘normal activity’. Sigh.

Before I got out of bed I did a little attitude adjusting. The Mind was getting really stressed, client invoices ‘are supposed to’ go out today, taxes haven’t been filed, I’ve been trying to finish that article for weeks….ack! So much to do! So, I let Soul take the reigns and love on Body a bit, then together they helped reset the expectations of Mind. The world will not stop if these things don’t get done today. The long-term impact of delaying these tasks is minimal, the long term impact of pushing my body, of not allowing it to heal, high.

By the time I got out of bed I was totally cool with spending another day on the couch, in and out of sleep.

I took a shower and then required a nap. Also not ‘normal activity’. Another attitude adjustment needed.

I often use henna to write a one-word intention for the week on my arm. For some reason, before surgery I felt compelled to write Grace on my arm…well, now I know why. I will need to offer myself a lot of Grace over the next few days.

I tried to write this and after reading it three times, I’m still finding typos. Also not ‘normal activity’. Another attitude adjustment.

And I’ll do that as many times as I have to today, and every day, until my body is healed.

Living my life in an empowered state of AntiSurvival is not a ‘once and done’ thing. There’s no miracle course or magical solution that will instantaneously transform me…it is an ongoing conversation, sometimes many times a day. It takes commitment and work and support from those around me.

Something tells me the next few days are going to be doozies…lots of grace shall be doled out in Team Sunni this weekend.

Team Sunni, Body Division : Internal Memo

As I’ve dealt with a gauntlet of health issues over the past 18 months I’ve developed a playful sort of relationship to my  Self. While I’m grateful to have moved past my corporate career, there are many aspects of business organization that just *work* for my brain.
So….I relate to my Self as an Enterprise, Team Sunni.

And the Body Division is basically a big factory with lots of Departments, Ingestion, Digestion, Cleansing, Waste Removal, Circulation, etc.

There was a large Team Sunni wide announcement made recently that I’ve decided to make public.

Team Sunni, Body Division : Internal Memo
RE: Retirement of Ms. Gallbladder
To: All systems and departments in the Body Division

As many of you know, the Cleansing Department received a very low productivity score during the 2015 review cycle. After investigation we discovered that Ms. Gallbladder was the primary reason. She had been reporting malfunctions for some time and with no clear communication path to leadership had been trying to handle it herself.

We took extreme measures over 2016, involving both the Mind and Spirit Divisions, to support her. Mind Division even set aside Desires and allowed us to stop processing alcohol and dairy entirely in an attempt to allow Ms. Gallbladder time to bounce back.

Last week we consulted outside experts who have confirmed that the damage to our beloved Ms. GallBladder is bad enough that the Cleansing Department will be able to function more efficiently without her. After the latest Leadership Meeting Body, Mind and Spirit unanimously agreed to, given her 35 years of service, offer her early retirement and she has accepted. Be sure to say your goodbyes and thank her for her years of service. Ms. Gallbladder’s last day with Team Sunni will be March 20th.

We will be taking the day off on March 20th to allow the Cleansing Department time to adjust to the loss.

There has been some ongoing impact to up and down stream departments. So the Ingestion and Digestion departments should experience an almost immediate improvement in working conditions. Since Mr. Liver will be taking on Ms. Gallbladder’s duties we ask that everyone give him, and his buddy Pancreas, extra support for the next few months. The Mind Division will support you by being very strict about what products we process for a while to ensure minimal impact on the Waste Removal team.

While it will be painful and sad to say goodbye to good ol’ Gall, we believe her departure will allow us to return to our 2014 productivity numbers in a matter of weeks.

This will be the biggest loss to the team since the Wisdom Tooth gang outgrew their space in 2000. Every single department and member in Team Sunni is valued, and the loss of Gall is not being taken lightly.

Over the past year of addressing this issue Leadership has made good on their commitment to more thoroughly review department reports from every member of the team. Thanks to everyone for actively participating in the morning meditation check ins. We have also recently integrated a new resource, Reiki, to do an in depth review with every department. Please cooperate and be as open as possible when Reiki comes to visit you.

Our goal is to keep Team Sunni intact for another 35 years, the suggestion box is always open and reviewed not only by the Body Division, but also Mind and Spirit for ways we can guarantee our success.

Sincerely,
Management

This is, straight up, how I communicate and relate to my Self. The fun part, I shared this with my ‘outside expert’ (aka Surgeon) during my pre-op appointment, and he totally played with me in it! When I asked him how my body would compensate once Ms. Gallbladder was gone he didn’t miss a beat before replying “Mr. Liver will take over her duties”.

Words are Magical

Have you ever considered just how subjective language is?

They’re simply sounds we make. As a society we have all agreed that specific sounds represent specific things.

It’s magic really.

For example, take the word couch


couch   kouCH/   noun
1. a long upholstered piece of furniture for several people to sit on.


It could also be called a sofa, if it’s smaller it may be called a love seat and the larger variety are sometimes called sectionals. Which one is correct? Which one applies when?

It gets even more complicated when you look at the full definition for ‘couch’ as it can also be a verb:


couch   kouCH/   verb
1. express (something) in language of a specified style.
2. lie down.


And this is a simple example!

It gets much more complex when you look at the definition of a word that represents something unseen like love or hate.

There are over 470,000 entries in the latest addition of Webster’s Dictionary.

So many options available to us, and yet, we collectively seem to gravitate toward the same subset over and over. So much of the available vocabulary goes unused in everyday conversation. This points to something…with so many words available and underutilized it would also seem that we often settle for using a word that doesn’t fully embody our intention. We fail to take the time to find the exact, specific word to represent our thoughts, feelings or intentions. I’ve discovered a significant value in taking the time to utilize the precise appropriate word, in some situations.

My first exposure to the importance of words came from Mom. I was homeschooled and Mom often made up games to help us learn, keep in mind this was in the 80’s before the internet was at our fingertips. One of my favorite games was called Synonym Gin, she wrote synonyms on playing cards and we had to collect four to get Gin and win. I remember being enthralled by how there could be so many ways to say the same thing. It was around this time that we read Julie of the Wolves, I learned that in the Eskimo’s language of Inuit there are nearly 300 words to describe what we have only 1 word for – snow. This fascinated me.

The actual game from my childhood. Mom keeps everything.

Later in my early twenties, I was exposed to the fictional society described in The Giver by Lois Lowry. The society often requests precision of language from its members. They go so far as to eradicate broad words to describe emotion. Upon reading this I found myself going back to the synonym groupings of my childhood and looking them up in a dictionary, wanting to understand the nuances, to be precise with my language.

More recently I participated in a self-development course that is fond of word studies, not only looking up a word but also exploring the etymology, the history of the word. In the course a single definition is reached, agreed upon and used for the rest of the course to ensure a common understanding. This idea of ‘redefinition’ feels juicy to me, like I’m developing a personal relationship to a word. Doing this sort of study creates a profound awareness of how often things are only true because we agree they’re true.

Word study is something I often incorporate into my own process for understanding new concepts. It’s also become integral to my process for intentionally designing my world. I did a word study on habit versus ritual when wanting to be sure I was relating to my grounding process appropriately – it’s a ritual, not a habit – and relating to it that way empowers me. I did a word study when writing my Partner a love letter, I wanted to be sure I used specific, intentional words to describe my thoughts about how our relationship developed over the previous year. I started with impressed, after research I found amazed and confounded to be most accurate.

I encourage my clients to play with what thrills them, I don’t believe in most one-size-fits all solutions, I’ll share what I do to give you a starting point just know that there’s no right way to do this, play with what works for you.

Sometimes I use an actual book, but usually I use the internet. I begin by looking a word up in a thesaurus, I’ll check to see if any of the synonyms seem to better fit my need, looking all of the contenders up in the dictionary. Sometimes I’ll look up key words from the definition as well.

Once I land on what seems to be an accurate word to use I will google it and its etymology. Sometimes when I understand the history of a word it no longer fits. For example, the word habit originally referred to garments and shifted to refer to a behavior pattern when they became heavily associated with the garments worn by clergy which wore the same garment daily for life. Now that I have a more intimate relationship with the word habit I recognize that most things I used to relate to as habits are actually practices.

Sometimes I pull different definitions together and create my own, pulling from that ‘redefinition’ idea. Sometimes I learn that there simply is not one word to exactly describe my thought, feeling, etc which is empowering in its own way.

There’s something about this process, the research, that gives me time and space to really consider something and be deliberate about how I relate to a thing, an intention, emotion etc. This practice has me really check in with myself, what exactly is it that I want to communicate? I often do this even if I’m only communicating to the various parts of myself, for an internal dialog.

I believe words are incredibly powerful. They carry weight. The history and meaning of a word impact how it is received. Using the exact correct word not only allows you to be intentional and become more aware of your thoughts and intentions, it conveys to others that you care enough to do so.

This practice of word study shows up often in my life and my work. I already gave you the example of writing a love letter to my Partner and examining my daily routine. It also served me when writing about the Victim vs Victor conversation, over use of the word feel and my examination of the concept of Ego. Each new year I craft my annual intention, my declaration to the universe of what I want for myself in my life over the coming year and word study plays a critical part in this process as well.

Where could intentional use of language be applied in your world?

Note:
As with all things, moderation is needed. There are many times where it is far more valuable for me to ‘talk it out’ than to go off and do a word study. Take care to use a practice like this as a way to deepen your relationship and self awareness – not to hide out or delay action.

The ‘Right’ Way to Meditate

Meditation is a massively powerful tool.

It’s not only for the Woo Woo or Mystical types. It can be used to quiet the Monkey Mind, to get in touch with your Self and your body.

I like to think of Prayer as the practice of talking to the divine, and Meditation as the practice of listening.

Who couldn’t benefit in hearing more from the Divine?

We are a society that is masterful at distracting ourselves. You are excellent at staying busy, keeping your mind occupied with friends, tasks, thinking about what you need to do, thinking about what you could have said differently in that meeting, watching Netflix, etc etc etc. All of that is engaging the Mind, distracting it. The impact is that you don’t allow space for God to speak to your Soul.

As with everything I do (and teach) I am all about ignoring any rules and finding what works for each unique individual.

All of my adult life, when faced with a challenge I would drive to a body of water and sit. Friends assumed these were my thinking spots, but I wasn’t really thinking, I was just….being. In retrospect, I was listening. I was meditating for years without even realizing I was meditating! I had this notion that there was some ‘right’ way to do it.

There is no ‘right’ way to meditate.

You can likely find dozens, if not hundreds of definitions for meditation. I assert, there is no “correct” definition. With my clients I keep it super simple and we relate to meditation as time spent alone with yourself, focusing your thoughts and energy on one thing.

You can turn virtually any task into a meditation by practicing the focus of your thoughts and energy. For example, I have a client who meditates while folding laundry, she focuses her thoughts and energy on the task at hand, thinking about how the clothes protect her family, help them express their creativity, how fortunate they are to have clean clothes and such a vast wardrobe etc. I have another client who meditates in the shower, spending 3 minutes focused on the feel of the water on his skin, the sensations, the steam, the smell, etc. See what I mean? There’s no ‘right’ way!

If you want to begin a practice, I suggest you start with 3 minutes a day. That is 180 seconds, I have full confidence that you can do this!

I recommend that you start simple. Sit in a comfortable position, set a timer for 3 minutes and spend it focused on your breath. Other great places to begin are by doing a mental body scan and yet another approach can be to repeat an affirmation or mantra to yourself.

If you feel like you need some assistance (no shame in that!), here are links to some resources that I find helpful.

Guided Grounding Meditation
Guided Breath Meditation
My go-to mantra (queued to start with 3 minutes left in the track)
Calming, relaxing music
Body Scan Meditation

It’s called a meditation practice for a reason. It’s not about getting good at it, improving, perfecting etc. It’s about a commitment to practice, regularly.

The point of all of this is to spend time intentionally being alone with yourself. To build a muscle around being able to quiet the Monkeys to allow God to speak to you, because you are listening.

Developing a Meditation Practice is just one of many tools I use when working with my clients in developing a Life Strategy for their world. Contact me if you’d like to learn more about what a Life Strategy is.

A Hippy in Sin City

I spent the past week in Vegas. And did not gamble once.

It’s not really my scene to be honest. I find it all overwhelming, I live a minimalist lifestyle and the city is all about excess. I don’t have harsh judgements for people who love Vegas, I can understand the appeal, it just doesn’t appeal to me.

However, my partner had a gig there and had a suite at the Venetian Hotel
for a week. I’m not one to turn down time with My Guy or a swanky hotel.

So, here is what I learned during my week in Sin City.

Humans fascinate me.

I mean, I already knew this, but this week was a great reminder. Watching humans interact around this art piece was especially interesting.

I’m moved by the variety of family configurations. I’m amused by how they handle who’s turn it is next, especially cross culturally – some wait politely, others jump in while others are there. Most people don’t hesitate when handing their device to a stranger to capture the moment for them. Some come back for a do-over. Fascinating.

With a rodeo in town, I spent one day counting cowboy hats (287 by the way). I also spent a day talking to the characters and impersonators on the strip. I was even asked out to dinner by a Transformer (I said no when they refused to take their costume off).

Some of the conversations I overheard were, well, often disturbing. I heard a group of girls debating whether they were assaulted the night before. I heard a guy say to his sweetheart in the Grand Canal shops ‘you don’t need to go to Italy, this is much cleaner and nicer than the real thing.’ I heard a parents with young children fighting over if their toddlers should be left playing the slots while they went to play cards.

People spend money on really interesting things.

Again, I knew this, but this past week took it to a whole other level. I spent a day going into the shops along the Grand Canal in the Venetian.

My tactic was to talk to the shop keeper and be honest

“I’m here with my partner on business and I’m bored. You must be bored too…show me your favorite thing in the store?”

Some of the prices blew my mind…the most expensive dress I found was $245,000 it was essentially bedazzled with Swarovski crystals, they rent it for $20k a day. There was a painting (that looked to me, and the sales staff, like a blank white canvas with a blue dot) for sale for over $300k. There was a hat that was supposedly worn by Louise, of Louise & Clarke, on display that was for sale for $2m (yup, million). We agreed it looked like a cast off from the set of Indiana Jones.

The most interesting thing I found was art carved into mother of pearl. It’s now a necklace, but hundreds of years ago it was a poker chip, used by royalty to bet during card games. The amount of detail just is not captured by this photo. This piece is about the size of a silver dollar and for sale for about $2,500. The history was so interesting and the sales person’s passion contagious. I went back a couple of days to chat with her.

The world of bath products is deep.

The hotel room had the most amazing soaking tub, so I went in search of some bath time … um … things? I don’t really buy these sort of things so I don’t even know what I was looking for, salts, oils, bubbles, bombs – something.

I went into a Lush and the staff was completely baffled by my lack of knowledge about their products. I spent over two hours being the guinea pig to a staff of four. They must have tried 100 products on me. In the end they all smelled too artificial for me and I left without making a purchase, though not empty handed as they gave me tons of samples and a list of places to explore off the strip.

I went into three other brands of bath shops, none of them had anything that appealed to my senses. And the cost was shocking, $15 for one bath? Really?

In the end, I wound up at Walgreens where I got myself some Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Bubble Bath for $15 which lasted for 6 baths and was lovely. I burned some oils, listened to music and sat for two hours one afternoon.

There is a hippy village in Vegas.

I asked all of my shop keeper friends where the hippy’s hang out in Vegas. Most of them said that I was in the wrong city, but a couple said I belonged in Container Park. I did some googling and this park lives at the very end of the historic strip where all the flashy old neon is, and it happens to be around the corner from an awesome little Vegan Restaurant. Hippies, old school signage, healthy food? It was time for a field trip off the strip.

Turns out Container Park is a co-op of locally owned shops, including LAYOP clothes (very cool clothing brand) and a pet store where I held a snake!

Between the tree house, adult sized legos, natural sunlight and free wi-fi, I was a very happy hippy. I spent the better part of a day hanging out here.

There is ALWAYS something interesting.

The biggest thing I got out of my week in Sin City was affirmation that there is no such thing as a boring city. If you’re looking for it, you can find something interesting wherever there are human beings.

 

The Truth is not True

Very few things I say are true….I say this to my clients all of the time.

All.
The.
Time.

Most of what I say is one possible version of the truth. If my version of the truth leaves you feeling empowered, try it on, see if it’s true for you too. If not, dismiss it and move on.

Sometimes the things I say seem outrageous to people. The thing to keep in mind is perspective, it’s all relative.

Many of the concepts we discuss and relate to as truth, are actually opinion. But people often aren’t honest about this, perhaps they aren’t even aware. So they say something, relating to it as an empirical truth, and should someone disagree with them, they get all riled up, almost as if they were called a liar. When it’s all actually a difference of opinions.

If we all get super authentic, with ourselves and others, about when we are speaking truth versus opinion, conversation becomes a lot more about understanding each other than being ‘right’.

I know, this is all very conceptual, allow me to make it real.

Romance. This is a loaded term and quite literally means something different to every single human being based on their life experience. Sure, we can look up the dictionary definition, do a word study, but as humans we add our own expectations based on our life experience, culture, family dynamic etc. So let’s use a personal example:

I say to my partner ‘you’re not romantic enough!
They reply ‘how can you say that, I’m very romantic!

It’s easy to predict that what comes next is an argument, perhaps even a fight reviewing past romantic actions and intentions.

Me: You haven’t taken me on a date in months.
Them: What?!? We went out just last week!
Me: When?
Them: Dinner and movie last Friday.
Me: We do that every week, that’s not a date!
Them: I wore cologne, nice shoes, opened the car door for you, that was a date.

At its root, the fight is about us trying to convince each other of who is right about what romance is. I want surprise, variety and intimacy. My partner wants dependability and intention. We’re not actually having a conversation about what romance is though, instead we’re debating if romance is present in our relationship….We’re having the wrong conversation. What resolution could really come from that? We’ll never agree if we’re working with different definitions.

Now, if I started the conversation with ‘you’re not being romantic by my definition’ or better yet, ‘how do you define romance, babe?’. This now allows for us to have a conversation about how we each define romance and what expectations we have of our relationship. It sets an entirely different context for what conversation will ensue.

Here’s why I think this concept is important to consider and try on in your life.

It is SUPER easy to accept an opinion as truth allowing opinion to become a steadfast rule. When you do that, you start to make decisions based on that truth/rule being unshakeable.

You can pick different rules to play by; really, you can! Thought Leaders, Disruptors and Change Makers do this regularly.

Just think about it, at one point…

  • it was ‘true’ that the darker a person’s skin the more inferior they were
  • there was a ‘rule’ that women couldn’t do the same job as men
  • it was ‘true’ that marriage must be between a man and woman
  • it was ‘true’ that unwed women were unfit to be mothers and their babies were forcibly taken from them
  • once upon a time there was a ‘rule’ that women must wear a dress with hosiery.

Somewhere along the line a brave person realized that these aren’t TRUE, they’re opinions and they didn’t serve everyone. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, daring to challenge the status quo / truth / rule around race. This new version of reality we live in, where there is intended equality regardless of race, it isn’t technically any more true than the version from the 50’s when there were separate water fountains. However, as a society we have collectively chosen to embrace a more empowering truth.

I talk a lot about living in AntiSurvival Mode, living proactively, or living an intentionally designed life. Doing this requires that you accept that your truth is simply one version of the truth. Other versions are just as valid.

Take time to consider the other versions of the truth, is there any power available to you, your life, your world, your decisions, if you accept another version as true?

For many people the foundational root to many of their ‘truths’ lie in dogma and religion. I have the utmost respect for faith and no desire to shake or rattle yours. And, I think that for many this is an excellent place to start. I suggest the book Conversations with God as a great starting point for discovering some new potential truths around the Bible.

I consistently find new truths and rules in my own world that I didn’t even realize I was honoring. Most recently I realized that I was operating as if Ego was a bad thing. This ‘truth’ had me feeling conflicted, restricted, disempowered and confused. There were things I felt, things I wanted to do, good things, that felt driven by Ego, which must then make them bad… I started to really look at my relationship to Ego, the ‘truths’ I saw around it, an inquiry into my relationship to it. I now have a totally different ‘truth’ around Ego, I see it as a guide, pushing me into situations for growth (read more here).

A key foundation for living in AntiSurvival Mode, for intentionally designing creating a life you love, is a willingness to consider that very few things you, or anyone, says are ever true.

Well, at least that’s my truth (^_-)