Who do you love loving?

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The first time I noticed being loved, I was a chubby seven year old little boy, dressed in my best cowboy attire.

There was a red bandana, a cowboy hat and from the days of realistic looking cap guns, a shiny six shooter holstered to my waist.

The plaid, Tough-skin pants from the husky department at Mitchell’s department store were not true to form but didn’t matter.

My parents were taking me to Six Gun City and I was losing my mind with excitement.

An older cousin had been describing New Hampshire’s fake western ghost town / mini theme park for months.

Amidst miles and miles of,  “Are we almost there?”, “I can’t believe it!” and “Can I ride a horse, shoot a bad guy and get a big ice cream?”, I paused.

“Mom, are you happy?” I asked

“I’m happy when you’re happy, Jimmy” she replied

I’ve never forgotten that moment or the care behind those words.

The heart of love is not merely a feeling.

The heart of love is a mix of feeling and subsequent action.

Think of someone you love dearly.

Get a clear image in your mind.

Now, as if they were sitting in front of you, finish this thought;

I love you (say the person’s name) therefore I (insert an action that makes them feel uniquely loved as an individual).

Maybe you want to finish this sentence on behalf of several loved ones.

Perhaps you can list several actions for one person.

Now consider how serving someone you love makes you feel.

Is it a chore?

Is it an obligation that you are checking off a list?

Are you just going through the motions because you feel like you’re are not getting anything in return, or are you like my mom?

When she said “I’m happy when you’re happy”, what she was really saying is you are my boy, and I love loving you.

She was saying you are the apple of my eye and the heart of my heart.

She was saying If bringing chubby little you, to a fake western ghost town, way up in New Hampshire, feeding you ice cream and allowing you to engage in a fake gunfight with a fake cowboy is going to make you feel love, then lets go!

Whose happiness makes you happy?

 

Thick skin = the key to creative greatness

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Nearly a decade ago I brought some lyrics I had written to a friend.

She’s a wonderful songwriter whose work has always resonated with me.

It’s nice to have friends that you can also be fans of.

When I approached her I told her that I wanted her opinion.

What I was really looking for was for her to say  “amazing job Jim”.

What I got was something very different and yet a thousand times more valuable.

“Can I be honest with you?” she asked.

“Of course you can” I replied as my heart sank.

I was really thinking “please don’t”.

She went on to tell me she loved my lyrics but that I didn’t write melodies that ever made her want to listen.

Ouch!

You have felt ouches like that before.

How did you respond?

For most of us that’s when we become cry babies, throw tantrums and start to spin.

Some of us get so shut down from the slightest criticism that we become paralyzed.

She didn’t stop there.

“You need to slow down, think about how your melody supports the theme and consider how heavily your musical influences are influencing you.”

Easy to hear?

Nope, not even a little bit.

Was she correct, kind and courageous in service of my work?

Completely and utterly.

Did her suggestions work?

100%

Your greatness will expand in direct proportion to the thickness of your skin.

You can be precious, protective and insecure…

You can be in search of perpetual pats on the back.

You can be insecure in a way that will forever keep you from getting good.

Not being able to get to good means having no shot at becoming great.

If you see yourself in any of this, here are a few items to consider.

 

  1.  Ask for what you really want.  If you are looking for critique ask for critique but if what you really want is encouragement then ask for encouragement.

 

  1.  Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are asking.  How many people can you imagine are asking them for advice in a typical week?  Can they do it better than you?  What is their schedule like? If they are a professional,  are you willing to pay for their time? Before you get upset about not getting a response or not getting the response you want, see your request through their eyes.

 

  1.  When it comes to your creative pursuits most of your friends and family will not usually be honest with you in the way you need them to be.

 

  1.   When it comes to your creative pursuits most of your friends and family will assure you that they are being honest.

 

  1. Remember, you are the artist.  In the end it is your name on the project.  Know when to stand your ground.  Part of having a thick skin is about humility but the other side of that coin is confidence.

If this post was helpful like it, share it, subscribe and live it.  Follow Jim Trick on twitter @JimTrick  Are you ready to try life coaching on for size?  Email ThatLifeNow@gmail.com today!

 

Don’t get over it, go through it.

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This post is the 3rd in a series based on the well-known poem “The invitation” from Oriah Mountain Dreamer

“It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow.
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed  from fear of further pain.”

My mother’s voice was shaking with sadness and shame when she told me about Herman.

Our beloved dog was elderly and very unwell.

When she found him unable to walk to his food bowl, she knew she had to make the brave and difficult choice to end his suffering.

I cried and cried when she told me and although I was only in the sixth grade, I knew she had done the right thing.

She is as strong as steel.  In many ways she filled the role of mother and father for me after my father  suffered a stroke.

I always knew there was nothing life could throw at her that she couldn’t navigate with grace, strength and wisdom. That’s why it seemed unnatural when she said that she would never have another dog.

Saying goodbye to Herman and making that decision was too painful.

Losing a pet is terrible, but as you read this your own moments of deep sadness, loss and betrayal may be coming to mind.

The friend that let you down…

The loved one who left too soon…

The lover who stopped loving you…

The tragedy so tragic that you are still haunted by it all these years later…

What contracts have you signed based on your pain?

What vows have you taken?

I will never:

trust

love

volunteer

perform

or _________________ ever again.

Perhaps you made your version of that agreement without even realizing that you were doing it.  As if the feelings and activities associated with your heartache got put into a box, stored in the back of the closet never to be opened.  Sometimes you may see it in there but you always quickly look away.

If this is you, I have good news.   The contract you made with your heartache is revocable.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not proposing that you can just “get over” whatever put you in this place, but I am saying that if you have made an agreement with the actions and behaviors attached to your heartache, you do actually have a choice.  Here are some tips for next moves.

– Work to  “touch the center of your sorrow.”

This may be best done in the presence of a professional, mentor or wise and committed friend.   Whatever support network you choose, connecting with and leaning into your pain is important.

Robert Frost was on the money when he said, “The only way out is through.”  (No Alanis Morissette did not come up with that line on her own.)

–  The practice of just sitting with what “is”, is powerful.

So is learning not to hold on too loosely or tightly, but rather observing the full range of thoughts and feelings that come up when you choose to be with things that are hard to be with. Go slow.

– Understand that no feeling is final

Your behaviors attached to the event don’t need to be either.  Sure, initially that thing you swore off might not have been right for you. In the same way that your feelings have evolved, your behaviors most likely could as well.

– If your heartache is associated with loss, consider how your new actions serve your lost loved one as a living tribute.

– Ask yourself what trying to protect yourself from further pain is costing you, and what you have to gain from taking small steps in a new direction.  

No one knows what its like to walk in your shoes, but in today’s post I hope you know that you are not walking alone.

What’s your price?

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When I was in my early twenties, Mike Sapienza (aka Sap) and I were inseparable.

It was Mike, Danny, Steve and I.

There was never a question about if we were hanging out.

The only question was about what the adventure was going to look like.

We would spot each other’s cars from a quarter mile away, flash our lights, pull over and declare the where and when.

One time we decided we would put on suits and sunglasses to bet on the dogs.

We walked Oceans 11 style into the Seabrook dog track, like we owned the place…

Steve’s uncle had a lead on a greyhound named Sack-O-Nuts…

It was a sure thing.

After we each had lost $20 we decided to lose the suits and head to the beach.

Many of our other shenanigans will never see the light of day.

Seriously…

For years we moved as a pack and it was beyond fun.

There was however, one exception to our togetherness.

It came five days a week at 6:30 AM.

That was when Mike went to the gym.

Didn’t matter how late he was out the night before or what was planned for the day, at 6:30AM he was at the Cedardale Athletic Club, working out.

We’d give him a hard time about it and he’d brush it off.

Once when it was just he and I, I asked him how he did it,

In that question I was acknowledging how impressed I was by his commitment.

I have never forgotten his response.

Mike looked me in the eye and said

“Its the price I pay for the life I lead”

He offered nothing more on the subject, nor did he need to.

You have longings…

Some feel more like pipe dreams and others are less grandiose.

Meaningful work…

Physical fitness…

A healthy relationship…

To be part of a community…

To have a real friend…

You know your longings better than I do.

Your desires beg the following question.

Are you willing to pay the price for the life you want?

If your answer is “no”, then good on you for being honest.

If your  answer is yes here are a few thoughts to get you going.

– Stop blaming other people for your lack of action.

You are in your drivers seat.  God gave you a will and a calling.  They are there for you to engage,  so make sure you are not expecting someone else to drive your bus.

– Don’t expect someone else to pay your dues.

Like the first tip, this one is about your life not coming at the expense of others.  Consider the people you love and depend on.  There is no greater drain on a relationship than when the dreamer taxes their             partner and then makes them feel like they are to blame because they were not supportive enough.

– If you are waiting for the right time, it will never come.

The perfect time to start is now and by now I mean right now.  You could choose to stop reading and take meaningful action in the direction of your heart…

Ready?

Curious about life coaching?  If you are ready to schedule your confidential  sample session with Jim Trick or have any questions just call:  978.994.0431 or email thatlifenow@gmail.com