China, flatware, and cloth napkins

For many years, I felt anxiety every time I had to set a table for a meal.

Here’s why…

Growing up, my mom was very particular about how she wanted her table set. I think she learned this in school or something (I just realized I have never asked her this question).

She wanted the bottom of the dinner plates even with edge of the table. Forks on left (salad fork on the outside, dinner fork on the inside) with freshly pressed cloth napkins under the forks. Spoon and knife on the right, with the knife closest to the plate. The sharp-edge of knife blade was turned in towards the plate. And don’t get me started on glasses. SO many glasses.

Problem is I’m left-handed. And I do a lot of things backward. Including placing forks and other utensils on a table.

My anxiety came because after I set the table, my mom would come behind me and “fix” everything that she saw was “wrong.” And my young brain interpreted that as “everything I do is wrong.” Verily, my anxiety grew.

One day as an adult, I realized something amazing: it didn’t fricking matter how the table was set! These were a set of rules created by someone long ago for a set of reasons that certainly do not apply to me today.

I have no intention of having a fancy-schmancy dinner. And the chances of the President of the United States or the Queen of England coming to my home for dinner are slim to none.

Most importantly, I can’t really think of anyone else (except my mom) who might gives a rat’s behind how my table is set.

So, I’ve decided not sweat it. And I’ve freed myself from a lot of:

  • Worry
  • Judgment
  • Excessive amounts of flatware
  • A need for “good” china”
  • Ironing of linen napkins (or at least putting them in the dryer to get the wrinkles out)

And I feel awesome for it. Life is simpler. I am happier. And food tastes just as good.

I wonder, gentle reader, is there a place in your life where you are operating under “old conditioning” that is no longer serving you?

Are you “doing” something antiquated, archaic, fussy, precise, frustrating, silly, or even tiresome because that’s what you were taught to do?

  • “Yes” to every request, all the time?
  • Full make-up every day?
  • Hair done – blow dry, curling iron, hairspray, the works!
  • Reading the paper – or a book – in its entirety (even if you’re not interested entirely)
  • Driving a certain kind of car
  • Living in a certain city
  • Eating a particular food
  • Working in a certain “right” job
  • Attending certain religious institutions
  • Owning. Or renting. Or leasing.

Do you get my drift? If you’re doing something that feels like an obligation; if you’re doing something that doesn’t bring you joy; if you’re just going through the motions because, well, it’s what you were taught, STOP.

I hereby give you permission to stop it. Stop it now!

The choice is entirely yours.

Can it be scary? Sure.

Will there be consequences? Maybe.

Could it be awesome? MOST DEFINITELY.

Ready?

Make Some Room,

Angie

P.S. I’ll also never be able to give my Dad a salad-sized fork to use for eating dinner. If we were being casual and not setting the table, my dad still wanted the big dinner fork. To this day, I have trouble giving people a small fork to eat with. Isn’t it funny that habits and “rules” we retain from childhood?

P.P.S. I’ll also tell you the minute I realized I was an adult: I opened a bag of Nestle chocolate bits and ate some of them. Without making cookies. Seriously, in my house, we DID NOT EVER do that or we’d have to face the wrath of my mom. “If you open the bag and eat them, the next time I go to make cookies there won’t be enough!” And she was probably right, but still…the day I opened that bag and ate some, I thought, “Oh, yeah, I’ve arrived.”

Life as a practice

Once again my husband, Nelson, and I had a profound car talk moment over the weekend.

We were talking about our experiences with body and breath work, and with yoga teachers specifically. Nelson said, “Some teachers lead you through the poses one after the other in succession. Other teachers lead you into the poses, ask you to focus on your breath and be aware of your body. Then the teacher will come around and adjust your body to give you a better position, a deeper stretch, or to remind you to breathe if they can see you are holding back.”

Then Nelson said it: “In some yoga classes, you’re just going through the motions, without much intention or thought.”

I gasped and said, “Oh my gosh! This is such a metaphor for life, isn’t it?”

Sometimes you’re just going through the motions: eating, sleeping, pooping, having sex, going to work, watching TV, taking a shower, and repeating day after day…

(or some stuff like that)

And sometimes you’re truly living life, fully engaged, passionate, hair-on-fire, Soul burning bright, leaving a trail of kindness, compassion, and love in your bright, shining wake.

Right?!?!!?!

My questions, gentle reader:

  1. Are you just going through the motions?
  2. OR ARE YOU REALLY LIVING LIFE?

You know, they call yoga a “practice” for a few really important reasons:

  • Repetition – of the poses and the act of “doing” yoga
  • Attention – to proper breath and body placement
  • Commitment – to showing up fully, being in the poses, being with your breath, and being with whatever feelings come up

I read somewhere that yoga was intended to be a practice done before meditation. To move the body and the breath in preparation for the stillness of going inward.

It’s so intentional when you see it as a practice.

I wonder where in your life you’re “just going through the motions.” What could you stop doing in order to make room for something that lights a fire under your ass? What could you stop striving for that is empty and doesn’t give you a spark…in order to start doing something that lights you up like a sparkler on the Fourth of July?

How can you stop going through the motions and instead begin to practice something more meaningful and intentional in your life?

  • Do you desire a teacher, advisor, or mentor to show you the way? Get one!
  • Do you thrive being part of a connected community? Find one!
  • Do you want to learn something new that’ll eject you from your comfortable seat? Sign up for the class, training, lecture, or bootcamp!

Times-a-wastin’, gentle reader. Stop navel-gazing. Go ahead and get organized. Get the systems needed to grow your business. Bring order to your world instead of chaos. Get the training you need. Learn about boundaries and embrace them in order to give yourself the time you want. Then get focused: hyper-focused on what you can contribute to the world and her suffering people.

Trust me – you are here for some reason. Don’t let disorganization, confusion, chaos or fear hold you back.

Ready to make your LIFE your profound practice?

Make Some Room,

Angie

Are you willing?

There’s a dude named Jonathan Fields who is one of my heroes. He started a series of video interviews called Good Life Project. If you haven’t heard of Jonathan or seen any of the Good Life Project interviews, you are truly missing out.

Recently, Jonathan posted a question with so much insight that it made me want to weep. It was simple and he spoke the truth. You can watch the video here.

Before you click over though, here are my questions for you:

  1. Are you committed to being of service or are you committed to being comfortable?
  2. Are you committed to leadership or are you happy getting by, not making waves?
  3. Are you committed to action or are you committed to frustration?
  4. What’s your BIG WHY? (And if you don’t know it, figure it out. Not knowing – not remembering – is a BIG part of your frustration and unhappiness in life).

It may feel like “being busy” means you’re contributing to the world. It may feel like “getting organized” means something, too. And while getting work done in an organized, efficient manner is critically important for putting your good work out there, sometimes we get stuck on the big scary stuff because it isn’t “perfect.” In reality, sometimes good is good enough.

If you’re feeling wishy-washy on the questions above, or you know you’re ready to step into something big, I can help (and often in a single two-hour session).

I’m here to be of service to you in helping you connect with your Big Why. And to do it in a way that doesn’t wear you out or leave your feeling overwhelmed. My work with you centers on right action, aligned with your purpose. And you end up getting really focused and organized to boot.

Are you willing?

Make Some Room,

Angie

#iamwilling

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