Revive For a Vivid Life

Errors of perception are the very human gaffes that gain momentum and become the solecism of inaccuracy, misbelief, and misjudgment that cause an avalanche of delusion that inundate life.

Errors of Perception are, in other words, deficits of awareness and discernment, that gone unchecked, can lead to devastating results across the landscape of our lives.

One such error was recently corrected. I owned both the adult expression and the impact of my attachment style, holistically, right through the ever-loving radius of my life.

When it happens that I begin to feel emotional discomfort, particularly around ambiguity in certain relationship matters, I then feel a perceived lack of emotional safety.

This triggers anxious-avoidant and anxious-resistant attachment styles. I then experience difficulty regulating my emotions. The negatives reach a level of superfluidity and I’m not just “flooded,” I’m living in an emotional Atlantis. And this leads to catastrophes that are as life-altering as a California mudslide.

I think you get it— overwhelm, swamped, sunk, buried.

I was on my way home, looking at my shoes, and I had an epiphany after work—I’m a boxer after a fight.

It wasn’t about attachment . And it isn’t about a lack of drive and motivation. I’m not uninspired. It has nothing to do with procrastination, poor planning, not being proactive. It isn’t about fear, or anything—except one simple thing:

Being human.

The need is for recovery—as in after a boxing match.

Because like a lot of very human people, I’ve been fighting. I’ve gone the full 12 rounds. I need to recover now, not for work or relationships, but for me and my wellbeing. Because it’s all about having been a whole being in the ring, 12 rounds, never caught cold, bout after bout.

And what I authentically require is a strong recovery strategy, crucial both to my performance in the next bout of life and also to my overall growth. So, as in meditation, where we gently bring ourselves back to the breath, I need to return my focus to the point where I am a human being becoming more human.

There is really nothing outside of me that I need. I have everything I require. That’s how I define vulnerability—the authentic realization that I got this and when I don’t, nothing and no one will make any difference until I recover full awareness and responsiveness.

It can take a professional boxer as long as 3 months to recover after a 12-round fight. I’m looking at my shoes and realizing I’m beat up. My shoes are beat up. My life has gone 12 hard hitting rounds.

I’m not afraid or emotionally blocked or checking out. I’m fatigued and I need a recovery strategy.

I’m taking a cue from Lennox Lewis.

1. Do a long and slow cool down routine that includes stretching the imagination. I don’t need to stretch my abilities or knowledge or anything except creative thought.

2. Relax—for me that means enjoyment and refreshing the mind and spirit in whichever way I see fit.

3. Cook fun and healthy food on my Miami weekends.

4. Rest, sleep, and do or don’t do whatever else I find essential for recovery and healthy functioning.

5. Thinking through my process for myself on my terms and resting so I can be the most woke and most real for who I am today.

6. Disengage from social media—I don’t need any platitudes, motivational memes, inspirational quotes, gurus, perpetual positivity myths.

7. Recognize that to recover I need to do me. Right now I don’t need to be engaged in any external conceptions, convictions, or conclusions. I have my own essence, my own essentials if you will.

8. This is a time to repair and recuperate.

Revive for a vivid life.

There is no way to know what the next bout of life will demand, what it will bring into the ring. It’s all uncertain. And that’s why it’s so important to recover, then prepare, then get strong.

Prolific writer and author, Tove Jansson said, “All things are so very uncertain, and that’s exactly what makes me feel reassured.”

It’s a statement of resilience, self-trust, and presence. It’s a statement that’s aware of nuance.

It is my statement of recovery

-to surrender to the rhythms of life rather than going round after round.

-to seek comfort in the interconnectedness of life and the deep interconnections within.

-to rest and recover self amidst the cycles of birth, growth, decay, and death.

As Tennyson said:

That which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

This is my recovery—To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


Worry: Small Things & Big Shadows

We attach worry to the future. We don’t worry about the past. We may regret it, but we don’t worry about it. And in the moment, we might feel anxious. So, maybe there’s a good reason why we’ve evolved worry.

We all know somebody who worries full-time. Their worry is sometimes a function of concern, sometimes a function of anxiety. Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow, as the Swedish proverb goes.

I stopped telling my worriers to stop worrying. Know why? Minimizing people’s feeling is unkind. Telling someone to stop feeling how they’re feeling is as thoughtless an act as it is demanding. We do it all the time. We say stuff like “Cheer up!” When we tell a depressed person to cheer up they’ll feel like their experience is an inconvenience to us. That’s just wrong.

Wayne Dyer calls worry a “useless emotion.” Okay, Wayne. Sorry, brah. I’ll just drop it then. Or, Wayne? Maybe your observation is useless. Now before you get too mad at me, lemme ‘splain.

We attach worry to the future. We don’t worry about the past. We may regret it, but we don’t worry about it. And in the moment, we might feel anxious. So, maybe there’s a good reason why we’ve evolved worry. It can spur our ability to map out, plan for, and engage in a thought process about how bad the future might really turn out. As long as you’re planning and thinking and not just reacting, you may be on to something positive.

So, sure, worrying won’t stop the bad things from happening. But it may spur you on to handle them. Worry, act, enjoy the good things. It’s okay. It’s one of those what it is to be human things.

Neuroscientists say that the human brain can’t distinguish between a real event and a vividly imagined one. This has tripped me up when I talk about a piece of writing. If I talk about it, I trick my mind into thinking I’ve already written it. Then it’s difficult, arduous even, to actually get the writing done.

With worry, what happens is that we build up the worst of the emotional habits. No. Not worry itself, but what I like to call “personal superstitions.” Professional worriers make a habit of entertaining an unfounded belief―that they’re not safe unless they worry. It’s superstition. I’ve dealt with a lot of mine and as a result, I worry a lot less.

It has taken the practice of self-awareness and meditation to come to my conclusions:

First, contentment is not insipid nor an uninteresting state of mind, at all.

Second, worry isn’t so stimulating that it deserves a huge chunk of my time.

But for some folks worry is stimulating! And yet, studies show that worriers tend to be intelligent, creative people. It takes imagination to dream up worries.

My way of diminishing worry has been to expand connection with others and not isolate as much as I am inclined to. Nothing like the light of day that engaging with others brings, and then voila! My worries diminish. When I can talk freely about what’s worrying me, I can gain some perspective―that it’s often just a small thing casting a big shadow.

I try not to be the smartest person in the room. My friends tend to be more rational than I, too. Sometimes. So, when I start to express worry, luckily I’m not told to stop. We’re having a conversation and I get to make a more rational choice for myself in the moment. Try that. It may just help those worries subside.

These 7 Life Hacks Will Help You Get Ready for 2017 Like a Boss

Give yourself some credit. You done good. Say goodbye to 2016 with a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

My grandmother was always saying, “Count your blessings.” I just don’t remember hearing her complain. One of my dearest friends, Sandra, always says―at least once a day―“Be grateful.” She is consistently looking for an opportunity to give recognition and share appreciation.

Basically, these positive women were saying the same thing. Express gratitude. And why? Because you count blessings, not ill fortune. Misadventure isn’t for calculation, it’s for edification. It’s for opportunity―not least of all taking the opportunity to look in the mirror.

What you do is you take a good hard look at your successes. You emulate and reproduce success. You learn from failures. You take an inventory and magnify your strengths so you can diminish deficits.

You don’t want to sit too long in a success. You want to take actionable steps and keep moving. You don’t want to sit in a failure either. Wallowing in emotional paralysis is not going to reduce a deficiency. Learning sure will.

Self-help author, Melody Beattie says, ‘Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.’ Wallowing never accomplished that. And yet, I can say in all sincerity, I’m grateful for my many failures.

That’s right. And why? Because being grateful for the failure unlocks it and opens up acceptance. Gratitude in failure unlocks the lesson and unlocks breakthroughs, momentum, and improvement. When we adopt the attitude that failing isn’t stagnation or diminishment, we can make headway and elevate our experience.

It’s part of an equation―it gets a bit algebraic, but don’t freak out―because we’re adding good stuff, embracing impermanence, forgiveness, and the benefits of moving on.

Oh. And look at that! We’re moving on from 2016.

  • What choices are you going to make?
  • In what ways can you set yourself up for growth?
  • What person, place, or thing do you need to let go of?
  • What strength will you expand?
  • Where’s your level of acceptance and non-attachment?
  • What are you gonna do to infuse more gratitude into your life?

These 7 life hacks will help you get ready for 2017 like a boss:

  1. Express your gratitude.
  2. Emulate and reproduce success.
  3. Magnify your strengths.
  4. Take actionable steps to move forward.
  5. Keep learning. If you fail, it’s for edification, not calculation.
  6. Calculation is for counting blessings.
  7. Give space for gratitude to unlock the lesson.

Give yourself some credit. You done good. Say goodbye to 2016 with a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. I’m so anticipating a new life and it comes with not just a clean slate, but with lessons learned. Are you with me?

Do it! Experience Appreciative Change With A Life Coach Today

I find fulfillment in helping people, particularly in a capacity where I am able to coach or demonstrate how to accomplish a task. I cherish the notion of being there to help people and being part of a group that finds solutions to problems.

What I didn’t realize back in 2008-2009 was that this is the definition of an entrepreneur.

Where are you going?

With the places life has taken me to in 2016, I’m on the threshold of a new life.

I have been reflecting on my career development. I have recently experimented and explored independent human services consulting. I set out on that journey through freelance writing as the first step toward that big mission.

Freelance writing is not only more tenable, it is also a reasonable starting point. This is what my journey, as one of the 35% of the U.S. population who is self-employed, has made clear to me.

I’ll get to why that makes sense in a moment.

You’re not going alone, are you?

Take a jacket.

I sure am taking a jacket. It’s appreciative change―layering for success, actually. One thing that had been missing on my journey was a mentor or a coach. I changed that recently.

I sure have been changing―what I do, how I do it, what I think, what I say, and how I say it. I have grown as a content and copywriter. I’ve learned a ton about a variety of topics. These include web content, blog writing, social media marketing, networking, ebooks, self-publishing, and more.

My writing has improved. My resume has improved, too, both the content and the layout―and the targets I’m aiming at are sharp.

And then I connected with a coach. There are differences between a counselor and a coach. My coach has blurred the distinctions and the impact has been invaluable.

As a result, I have recently been thinking a great deal about the theories originated by Anne Roe. My thoughts focused on transtheoretical, or stages of change models, of career counseling.

Anne Roe’s theories are reminiscent of Murray Bowen’s. Like Bowen, Roe focuses on the importance of early childhood experiences and parent-child relationships.

Oh, Pete…do we have to go that far back?

Yeah. I’m a developmentalist by education and an advocate of developmental psychology. I urge you to stay with me. This is going to be good.

Anne Roe believes that we likely choose a work-life that reflects the psychology of the home we grew up in.

Integrative life planning and cognitive theories of career counseling are important. In my experience, Roe is less complicated and way more interesting.

Roe comes at coaching with a needs approach. She takes a person-oriented focus. This approach helps in understanding coaching clients and their relationships with family. The effects of those relationships are the key.

Roe’s person-oriented focus gives the coach an understanding of career direction. And also an understanding of the obstacles the client is having difficulty with. Where the client is stuck, and which solutions to provide are an important part of the package.

One cannot coach an individual one does not know. Roe encourages the use of personality theories to learn more about the client. The idea is to throw light onto the client’s assumptions about choice and why they need to make better ones.

The right coach will impart important lessons. Some of these will be about how choices affect all areas of life, not just career trajectory. To know a client, you have to understand the choices she has made and know her pain.

Informed choices and learning to make quality choices are important skills to learn. A coach will help with that. And that’s one of the ways pain gets relieved.

One overlooked area is the gratifications which work can offer. I chose freelance writing first as I grow toward consulting because I love writing. I mean I really love writing.

I was reading a blog post by a self-publishing guru. He suggested writers get into the habit of writing 1000 words a day. A DAY! I thought, brah, I can write 1000 words in 2 hours.

And here’s a bit of news: personal evolution and growth include career development, too. It’s a process that takes place over the entire life span. Life and work stop for no one.

The Landscape of Career Opportunity

From 1760 to 1840, machines changed people’s way of life as well as their methods of manufacture. The 100 years that followed, saw the United States as the major economic and cultural power in the world.

1973-1975 marked the end of the great post-World War II economic boom. The US crept into a post-industrial economy. Recently, we have experienced the post-internet economy. Today we are living through the beginnings of the post-labor economy.

In an era where there is no longer a market for labor, the US is experiencing limits to growth. An end to growth, many believe, will lead to the eventual end of full employment. Some experts say we need is a new social and political paradigm. Practical, profitable jobs, they claim, will stop in due course.

The fact remains that everybody deserves dignity. What we need is to replace wealth with efficiency. We need to replace stuff with education. We need to replace welfare with an inclusive guaranteed income. We need to replace bureaucrats with counselors, corporation with community.

Economic change will force the hand of cultural change. And so, this is the age of the entrepreneur.

Changes in work and changes in the economy are inextricably linked. In 2008-2009, many of us learned this first hand. Before I was ready to make a career transition, the economy tanked.

The change was due to the $15,000 gap between my salary and the salary of my nearest colleague. . . on the food chain, pun intended. That was the strongest factor in the big bub-bye to Pete of ’09.

Having a college degree helped. I could transition from a culinary career to mental health services. It took a great deal of time to get a new job in a new field.

One interview that shortly followed was for a bachelor’s level substance abuse counselor. The experience made it clear how tough it has gotten. The correction’s department in my state was looking to hire a Master’s level clinician. They could get away with paying entry level wages to a better-qualified candidate.

I started thinking about making the transformation from freelancer to consultant. I still believe that’s my best bet.

In other sectors of the job market, automation is taking jobs for which there is no pay scale. The present time belongs to hackers and coders. The future, to associate’s degree level engineers, technicians, and designers.

The landscape of career opportunity is a shifting panorama, to be sure.

A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander. ―Roman Payne

I have known people who have lived their entire lives in the same basic location. They have worked the same kinds of jobs. They have even spent their entire careers with the same company.

A large number of people have put down impressive roots. Others have expressed courage in other ways. Many Americans have explored multiple careers changes in their lifetimes.

Of theses two types, I have been the latter. It is impossible for me to say that only recent changes in the American economy have had an effect on me and my work life.

Family, culture and personal choice have had an effect. Life-span development and personal spiritual formation have also come together. All these things, not just the economy, affected a radical shift in how I see myself.

My focus has shifted. I’ve gone from job hunting to becoming career conscious―this is one major area of change.

Another shift has been from goals to targets. That is, from the monolithic notion that a job is an end in itself to accepting a design framework instead. The focus is now on the flexibility of function rather than objectified ambition.

Finally, the acquisition of the material—property, houses, cars—is of no importance. I’d rather have a plane ticket and a passport than a house and a car.

Abundance Over Scarcity

My aim has been to holistically grasp the depth and meaning of this new direction. I seek to harmonize and counterbalance mindfulness, with the practical every-day reality of life.   

I am introducing a paradigm shift. It’s a shift toward abundance over scarcity. I make it sound more complicated than it is.

Still, it’s a huge part of why I’ve made the choices I have made. And the best choice I made was to work with a coach.

When the economy went south, I adopted a brave indigence framework. I felt that within my financial scarcity, I could find a spiritual creativity. In essence, I wanted creative indigence. I even ran a blog with that title.

I’m at a place in my personal development today where I take fewer and fewer things in life as belonging to me. It is much more meaningful to contribute something meaningful. There’s little room for third-rate advice, ill-informed opinions, judgment, and the demandingness of others.

But “simple work” no longer gives me satisfaction. It’s about leaving behind a palpable legacy―in my career and life. This is the way to achieve a sense of satisfaction. The way to get there is simple. It’s through giving.

I often said that the more you give, the more you have to give. The time came to live that out.

In the past, my goal was to work at my best, to develop competencies. I wanted to create a space where I could earn a promotion and a raise. Today, as I have said (and I laugh a bit about it, too) I have no business acumen as a result of wearing the blinders of goals.

For example, I once believed that I had no clue about networking. I compensated for my cluelessness by taking the plunge. I replaced The Big Goal of creating a network. I aimed at the practical target of messaging someone on LikedIn.

Lo and behold, I was networking.

Another target area for me was to explore how to make my existing skill set part of my personal brand. This helped me see things in a new light. Writing and my self-perception as an artist are marketable features of my career.

Lo and behold, I’m a freelance writer.

My self-perception as an expressive, original, and independent creative has dividends yet to pay.

I find fulfillment in helping people. Particularly in a capacity where I am able to coach or show people how to do a task. I cherish the notion of being there to help and to be a part of a group that finds solutions to problems.

What I didn’t realize back in 2009 was that this is the definition of an entrepreneur.

This goes back to my maternal grandmother. Julia was a devout Episcopalian who gave much of her property to build churches. During the summer, one of the bedrooms in her beach house became a clinic.

One of the dioceses in Louisiana arranged to send physicians and nurses. I spent weeks at a time in the summer translating. I spent some of the most memorable times in my life in San Marcos de Omoa, Honduras.

I saw human fragility and dignity, illness and courage. I saw what it meant to people to have even one doctor when there was no access to health care.

One young mother walked for 12 straight hours to see a doctor. She carried her swaddled infant for over 40 km. The baby boy would have otherwise died of dehydration because of diarrhea. One young man had an inguinal hernia without any hope for treatment.

I learned that everything that has a front has a back. Gratitude without appreciation is meaningless. The patients served, and the medical personnel we helped, modeled this for me every day.

The first male nurse I ever met was John Henry Williams. He had been in the Navy Medical Corps during World War II, stationed on a battleship that sunk in the Pacific. He had a huge impact on my life. He was a person who stayed behind after everyone else left. John lived in the village he served. He taught about clean water, nutrition, and health, not as an expert but as a neighbor and a part of the community.

John was not a go-getter. He was a giver. His value to his community was in his generosity. He gave continuously. His was a life not of creative indigence but of abundance. On his terms.

On The Scale

When I became a graduate student, social entrepreneurial initiatives seemed logical. From the beaches of Honduras to community interest companies and Appreciative Inquiry. It makes sense to me.

But those are Big Goals and with no idea about scalability, it’s a pipe dream.

An honest scalability model helps the freelancer. Most entrepreneurs want to transition from one business model to a wider entrepreneurial sphere. As we take on an increased or expanding workload, we expand our vision.

A system that scales well will be able to increase its level of performance and efficiency. Not just when tested by larger operational demands, but when tested by a larger vision. That’s true not just for business but the entrepreneur running it.

Scale yourself first. This isn’t about climbing the ladder. This scale is about progression, succession, sequence.

Freelancer to Social Entrepreneur. Nurturing a heart for both giving and abundance. Wanting to make a difference for clients now, and change the world as I scale up. In the system that I’m creating, these are also Big Goals. With scalability, they become a Big Mission.

This is why getting a career counselor or a life coach is so powerful. With a coach, we choose the positive as the focus. We identify the life-giving and create a preferred future. We innovate and improvise and generate the appreciative rather than the struggling.

Choose abundance over scarcity.

The coach I work with is available when you’re ready to explore your own choices.

Soul Searching? Good. Work with a “re-connect with your soul” facilitator.                 Contact Maria Yum on Facebook today.