You Must Be Present to Win

heyward-mlb

photo by ASSOCIATED PRESS

I must admit.
I’m overly identifying with the Chicago Cubs this year so the spectacular four-run ninth inning rally that secured their win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night was more meaningful to me than most playoff games.
You see, early on I adopted these boys of summer as mascots for my How to Get Your Groove Back class. Jake Arrieta in particular seemed like the perfect poster guy for getting one’s groove back. He almost gave up the sport altogether when his pitching coaches couldn’t quite find his groove and released him from Baltimore.
Fortunately Chicago was able to help him find it. And then Jake was able to show the rest of the team how to find theirs. (It might have something to do with that Pilates reformer.)
After a lifetime of summers spent listening to the “lovable losers” on the radio, this summer I watched and learned from the victories and defeats of the Cubs like a vigilant den mother. And one of the things I learned is you must be present to win.
You don’t win by checking out, dwelling in the past, or projecting into the future.  If the Cubs had gone into the ninth inning on Tuesday night plagued by what had transpired in the previous eight, they wouldn’t have been open to the opportunities the ninth inning presented. They clinched the series by seizing every one of them.
That takes an unflinching commitment to being in the moment. That is deceptively difficult.
Last week I spoke to a student services group about resolving to evolve. The first of four actions I asked them to take was to embody. 
What does she mean by that?” you might ask.
I mean to be fully present in the skin you are in and to be open and aware of what you are feeling and to allow your body to provide you with all kinds of information.
Do I have a choice?” you might ask.
Yes and no.  If you’re reading this, you are in a physical form that you move around to do your brain’s beckoning. You feed it, clothe it, take it to work, and allow it to rest. So in one respect, you have no choice but to embody.
But anyone who suffers from aches and pains and a general distrust or disgust of their body will tell you how preferable it is to live life from the neck up. Their choice is to check out of their bodies as often and in as many ways as possible. They might choose to medicate or obliterate with food, alcohol, drugs, or their vice of choice in order to spend as little time as possible feeling what it’s like to be in their body.
As a certified eating psychology coach and fitness instructor, I see this a lot. Most of the people I work with have a very complicated relationship with their bodies. My desire to understand this relationship is what led me to become a writer and coach.

Here’s my take-away. The present moment is all we’ve got. It’s the only time and place where we can make things happen and move forward in our lives.

This means we need to be open to receiving feedback and support from all our faculties, not just our brain. Because I don’t know about you, but my brain can be a bully.
It can have me believing all kinds of things that are just not true because it’s feeling threatened or scared. That’s why I need an entire team of truth tellers located in my heart, my belly, my back, my legs, or anywhere that might get my attention.
I do not want to be stuck in the eighth inning where I might be down 2-5 with just my brain calling the shots. I need my body on board to rally and earn a shot at the World Series.
Bob likes to remind me it’s just a game and whether my team wins or loses, my life will be the same. He may have a point. Every team and every sport have come-back stories and heroes’ journeys stories and a hundred reasons why their epic victory is destined.
But I know on the days the Cubs win my world seems a little bit brighter or more hopeful. Not just because they’ve broken a curse or done the impossible or because my Grandma would be grinning from heaven to see her Cubbies win it all, but because of how they played the game. They model for me how to be all in and present to win. That’s something I can rally around.
Who does that for you? Share if you dare in the comments below.

The Boys of Summer

ct-cubs-vs-pirates-20160619-022(photo credits – Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)
Okay, so I’m not usually so interested in the boys of summer, but I have to say if a team ever embodied the How to Get Your Groove Back method I teach, it would be the Chicago Cubs.
Ever since I was little, summers were spent either listening to the lovable losers blaring on our kitchen radio, watching them on tv, or occasionally going into Chicago for a game.
My parents are snowbirds and spend their winters in Arizona. While they love Arizona, they also want to be as close to the Cubs training camp and take in as many preseason games as possible.
As long as I can remember, it’s been the same thing. A sentiment shared by the entire MLB franchise. The Cubs will choke.  If the  Curse of the Billy Goat is to be believed, the team will never win a World Series at Wrigley Field.
But like all groovy gals, guys, teams, businesses, and best sellers, where there is a will, there is a way. In the case of the Cubs, where there is a dream and a team of outstanding people capable of making that dream come true, anything is possible.
Take Wilson Contreras for example. Last night, at this rookie’s first major-league at bat in front of 41,024 fans, he hit the first pitch 417 feet over the center-field to score a two-run homer.
I happen to be watching the game because Bob, like my parents, is a bit obsessed with the Cubs. He and my dad spent Father’s Day salmon fishing in Wisconsin. Bob had just gotten home, unloaded the car, and made it as far as the couch before collapsing.
As I cuddled up next to him he declared, “Honey, you’re watching history in the making.” I asked why. He said, “It’s this guy’s first at bat in the major leagues.
My reply was, “Doesn’t every player have a first time at bat in the majors once in his career? What makes this one so special?
It defied explanation.
Clearly the crowd knew something I didn’t. All 40,000+ of them were on their feet.
And then Contreras stepped up to the plate and in front of all those adoring fans made history.
I must admit, it was wondrous.
How many hours went into making that moment possible? How many people had supported him, encouraged him, created the circumstances that made that moment absolutely perfect?
I will never know the discipline, the training, the sacrifices, the mental toughness that made the quieting of nerves, the calling in of confidence, and the summoning of superpowers possible.
But I do know we’ve all done similar things in our own version of the big leagues.
Whether you’ve delivered a speech, signed divorce papers, buried a loved one, sent a child off to college, into the military, or walked him or her down the aisle, whether you sang karaoke at your neighborhood pub, ran for office, or stood up for yourself in front of your family or organization, I know you possess the kind of courage called for when it’s your turn to step up to the plate.
You simply need to summon it on a regular basis.
It doesn’t happen without practice.
When I was startled out of sleep this morning at 1:30 am by my dog’s disagreeable dinner choice, my thoughts drifted back to the game instead of dreamland. Suddenly I was wide awake as I replayed the emotions of watching someone do precisely what he was born to do. It was thrilling to witness what love of the game, love of the work and discipline, love of the fans, love of the players and coach, and love of team made possible.
It made me think about the following.

  • What would be possible for you if you had 40,000 fans on their feet supporting, encouraging, and believing it you?
  • What would stepping up to the plate look like for you?
  • If you hit it out of the ball park, what would that mean to you?

These questions kept the sandman away for a good two hours. Maybe they will stir something up in you as well?
I love hearing what matters to you. You may even surprise yourself when you jot dot the first thing that comes to mind in the comments below.
Batter up!

Oh, to "Bee" a SCAD Grad

SCAD
“Once a bee, always a bee.”
Not the rally cry heard at most universities focused on football and other achievements in sports or even academics, but a promise made by Paula Wallace, president of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
I graduated from a college known for producing teachers. Although I knew I was not cut out to be a teacher in the conventional sense, I’ve always been one in the unconventional sense. As an educator and academic advisor, I’m not convinced conventional education serves everyone. Especially the creatively quirky ones.
When I attended my niece’s graduation from SCAD last weekend, I realized why.  Celebrating the achievements of these eloquent writers, devoted designers, illustrious illustrators, innovative architects, visual and sound artists, advertisers, fashion merchandisers, and gamers, I instinctively knew that finding the right educational environment made this moment possible for many of them. Their dreams might not have survived a conventional approach.
Had I known about SCAD when I was considering college, surely I would have gravitated towards it. But at the time, I didn’t know such a place existed.
So I carved out a creative life on my own. Slowly. Over time. Wandering around the desert with my dog.
As Barbara Sher says, “Isolation is the dream killer.
Consequently, I can appreciate the value of a college for creative careers that focuses on creativity, community, and collaboration. I swarm to that like a bee to honey.
In this brave, new world of instant and constant connection, there really is no excuse to hide out as an artist or creative person. There is always someone, somewhere who will “get you“, who will see, understand, and be empowered by your creativity. No matter how old you happen to be.
And while art school might have been or still might be a pipe dream for many of us (because art school is expensive), where there’s a will, there is often a way. Figuring out how to get there – wherever your Promised Land may be – is part of what makes arriving so satisfying.
As the confetti fell from the ceiling and the acrobats twirled overhead, I contemplated the opportunities that await these gifted graduates. I felt inspired not just by these students but by anyone who has the courage to create.
In my world, there is a special place in heaven reserved for those who make life bearable by sharing their art and the beauty of their words, their music, or their creative visions. (There is also a special place for those who make indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and clean, safe drinking water possible.)
You don’t have to go to art school to create something meaningful, beautiful, innovative, or excellent. You don’t have to graduate from any institution to prove your value, your worth, your right to be here, and your need to contribute.
It is something to be proud of, for sure. The connections made and the experience gained from any educational experience will serve you for years to come.
But so will showing up every day not just with your degrees, portfolio, client list, and resume, but with your palpable passion, clear purpose, endless curiosity, and open heart.
Oh, to “bee” a SCAD grad would be an honor, indeed. But so is being all of who you are and not being afraid to bring that to the table over and over again.
I’d love to hear about your “graduation” – from school, from a relationship, from a job, from a place – in the comments below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Obsolescence or evolution?

Vintage typewriter and phone office
As I reached for the last couple of pumps from the only mousse that makes my hair look thicker than it is, I lamented the inevitable obsolescence of almost every product I love, from shoes to health care products to television shows. My Body Full™ instant bodifier has been discontinued, leaving me to begin the quest for more magical mousse.
I know this is nature’s way of preventing me from staying stuck in the last millennium. But after searching high and low for products that work for my particular makeup, I wish my favorite things would stick around longer. Kind of like how I wish swim suits would be available in stores during the summer.
I like to think of myself as an early adopter, one who is quick to embrace new ideas, try new technology, leap and learn to fly on the way down.  But the truth is, when things change so quickly and so often, it’s hard to get my bearings.
In theory, I love the idea of apps that make my life easier. In reality, if I can’t find my phone,  I won’t be able to find the list I organized and color-coded and filed under such a clever name I can’t even remember it.
I make supreme efforts to set myself up for success. Yet I’m easily distracted by all the bells and whistles that guarantee it. By the time I get all these systems in place, I’m too perplexed to do the actual work. (Learning curves can last a lot longer than one might think.)
This morning I embraced the idea that creativity coach Eric Maisel taught me a long time ago.  I simply must create in the middle of things. There is really no other way around it if I want to get anything accomplished or, in my case, written.
Life is too messy or busy or random to declare, “These are the only conditions that I can birth this baby” – whatever this “baby” may be.  As we all know, babies have been born in taxi cabs, bistros, and barns. And these babies have gone on to do great things.
So I will complete the blog post I started when I still had mousse. I will also renew my WordPress site for another year and update the look of it while I’m at it.  I’ll write another chapter for my How to Get Your Groove Back course. I’ll write before I book a flight and hotel room for next weekend.  I’ll write in between unclogging the shower drain, potting some plants, walking the dogs, enjoying a camp fire, and attending a graduation party. Because this is how life guarantees I continue to evolve.
I am incredibly curious about any number of things. In order to fully explore them, I have to cultivate the conditions for them to take root. This means continually letting go of things, ideas, relationships, products that are heading for obsolescence, whether I think it’s time or not. It means taking the time and making room for what matters most.
All any of us have to do is look through a high school yearbook to realize the wisdom in letting go of what we once believed to be fashionable, cool, or important. I’m not sure any of us could have predicted the path that brought us to where we are today.
Maybe it’s that mystery that motivates us to keep tossing our caps in the air year after year as we transform inevitable obsolescence into ongoing evolution.
Promising Future
My best advice to 2016 grads?  Resolve to evolve. You’ll figure out the rest along the way.
Feel free to share your best advice in the comments below.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Take A Hike, Valentine

Penny's iphone 2016 824
Asking my Valentine to take a hike was the best thing I could have done this Valentine’s Day. Now, before you think this is the reason I’ve been single all of my life, let me explain.
Over the years, I’ve found that taking a hike with someone you love is a natural way to bond with them. Getting outside, moving your body, and connecting with the earth has a way of grounding a relationship and opening up conversations to new perspectives, insights, and influences that may not be present in familiar, indoor environments.
A few weeks ago I realized the stress that had been accumulating since December definitely needed to be diffused. I have a couple of presentations coming up at the end of the month that require me to be fully present and aligned with my message. Stressing about it only makes me less available to “aha” moments.
Knowing the state I can work myself into prior to public speaking, I decided the best thing I could do was to head to my power place and relax into the upcoming challenge.
For me this place is the Southwest. The solidarity of the mountains and the solar power of a high desert sun recharge my batteries like nothing else. Rekindling my love affair with the landscape and the architecture does wonders for my spirit.
Listening to the urgency of my insistent soul, I set my sights on St. George, Utah. Then I told my Valentine to take a hike – with me, of course!
Maybe it was all that male bonding he’s been up to lately over activities I want no part of that made him eagerly agree to accompany me to the desert. Or maybe we both need to escape Iowa winters in February. Whatever the case, an amazing thing happened on the way to Utah.
First, I lost my iPad. Or so I thought. This led to a meltdown that left me in tears from Cedar Rapids to Denver. Luckily I still had my iPod with me and could console myself with Snatum Kaur, whose music I can only describe as transcendent.  I needed something to lift me as far from my funk as the plane was from the ground. Snatum is a Sikh which means I don’t always understand what she is singing about. But she sings like an angel and her voice was the antidote to my angst.
I imagined her words translated to some variation of the following: “Let it go. Not just the iPad but the stress and all the accumulated hurts and slights and disappointments. Let go of  your expectations that it should have been any different or that people should behave differently than they do. Let go of the striving and relentless drive to prove yourself.” Because her voice radiated love and understanding, it produced ongoing waterworks.
This was followed by a reminder from Michael Bublé that I needed to say something other than, “Take a hike!” to my Valentine. As Michael and Naturally 7 belted out “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” I took the ear pod from my left ear and stuck it in Bob’s right ear.
Fearing that the meltdown might have had something to do with him, he visibly relaxed when he realized the crying jag had come to a conclusion. Just as we had left the cold and snow in Iowa, I had checked my stress and presumably my iPad at the gate.
As we made our connection in Denver to St. George, the laughter and lightness returned along with the excitement that we were headed someplace spectacular. We arrived to sunny skies and warm temperatures and a van waiting to take us to our dream destination. Admittedly, my dream destination – Red Mountain Resort.
Greeted by a gracious staff, incredible views, and the most delicious and nutritious foods that we won’t have to prepare ourselves, I’m pretty sure we landed in heaven.
I love labyrinths and discovered one onsite within the first hour. As I circled around and back I thought of how few trips around the sun we get to make. Life is really too short to get so worked up about stuff I have no control over. Sometimes I simply need a little distance from it.
This morning we took a remarkable hike into the Snow Canyon State Park and explored the red sand dunes and Snow Canyon trail. I had a record 14572 steps before noon. We got back just in time for a delicious meal and afternoon guided meditation.
This, of course, led to an afternoon nap for Bob while I wrote. This was followed by stretch class, an exquisite dinner, and a gathering of new friends at the hot tub.
So now, my funny valentines, I must leave you.  As naturalist John Muir said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.”  Zion National Park awaits.
I will, however, leave you with this Valentine suggestion, which I say with love. Please…. if you know what’s good for you… take a hike!
 
 

Back to the Future


 
Time and space have always presented a particular challenge for me. In theory I know I’ve made several trips around the sun, but depending upon the day or the circumstance, I can feel anywhere from age 9  to 90.
When I’m feeling older and wiser, I want to travel back in time to tell my younger self to stay curious and to allow the answers come in their own time.  I want to reassure her that she will find what she’s looking for in the most unlikely places and what is meant for her will not elude her.
Lately, however, my younger self wants to tell my mature self a few things. Specifically, my past self who spent the majority of her time teaching fitness classes in gyms, studios, and corporate fitness facilities wants to remind my present self how to be at home in my body.
A couple of years ago, I decided that in order to do my best work, I had to be my best self. This meant getting myself in shape – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, you name it. I was determined to get my groove back and set out to do just that.
Because I had lost my groove gradually through a series of habitual, unconscious choices over the course of a decade or two, I had to get it back through a series of intentional, deliberate actions on a daily basis.
I spent half of 2014 and all of 2015 educating myself about nutrition and how to properly nourish myself and others.  I became a certified eating psychology coach and guided a few friends through a purification process that left us all feeling fabulous.
But feelings are fleeting.  Taking it to the next level in 2016 for me is about embodying.  It’s about getting out of my head and fully inhabiting and listening to my body.
A brief glance at a photo of me in legwarmers and tights back in the day made a new approach to getting physical necessary.
I found my motivation in Erin Stutland’s  Shrink Sessions.  She has combined the words of wisdom it has taken me a lifetime to master with physical actions and movements that ground these concepts in muscle memory.
Her workouts, Soul Strolls, and meditations are incredibly empowering.  One day it occurred to me that Erin is who I wanted to be when I grew up. Or at least who I wanted to be when I was her age.
As I reflected on my early fitness career, I realized I had been very much like her.
In a surreal Back to the Future moment, I marveled at the perfection of finding this soul sister across time and space and allowing her to train me (without even knowing I exist) in the present for the future that awaits.
Listening to Erin’s mantras on my iPod as my dog and I stroll along the snow covered trail, I think about the technology and infinite intelligence that connects us and delivers perfect messages at precise moments to the people who are poised to act on them.
The kicker is we may never know the positive impact we have on each other. That’s why it’s both courageous and imperative to put our work out in the world for its own sake.
We live in incredible times and the abundance of information, education, and inspiration at our fingertips is staggering.  There are experts ready, willing, and able to guide us through any transformation we care to experience.
The amazing thing is when we look outside ourselves for help, we often get to see own brilliance mirrored back to us in others whose future or past resembles our own.  It’s easy to project greatness and success onto someone else, declaring we would never have the discipline, the talent, the chutzpah, or the support to do what they have done.  But we can’t recognize something in others we don’t also have in ourselves.
This year don’t hesitate to call on your past self, your future self, or your alter ego to help you evolve into your best self.  Then stay tuned as to who shows up to collaborate with you.
What words of wisdom might you have for your time traveling self?  Share if you dare in the comments below.
 
 
 
 
 

Get Your Gobble On

keep calm and gobble on background

It’s here! My favorite holiday of the year.

A day set aside to feast with family and friends and give thanks for all the good gathered over the course of a year.

Since this year Bob and I decided to host this production at our place, I needed a strategy for getting my gobble on with grace and gratitude.  Keep Calm and Gobble On seems to be the best strategy so far.

Thanksgiving is the kind of food-centric holiday that could keep a Certified Eating Psychology Coach in business all year.  With every imaginable issue surrounding food and nourishment having the potential to rear its ugly head at the most inopportune time, it’s good to have a plan.

Instead of dispensing advise on counting calories or carbs or suggesting you exercise til the turkeys come home like so many well-intentioned articles do at this time of year, I’m going to politely ask you to ignore those messages (since most of them lead to guilt and shame) and pay special attention to this one (since it might lead to an epiphany).

As difficult as it may be, do not numb out, check out, or let food or drink take you out of your discomfort in the moment. Stay present.  Be mindful.  Amazing things occur when you are aware enough to notice them.

Granted, if you are surrounded by your closest kin, you may have moments where you want to drink yourself silly or stuff your emotions like the bird you may be eating.  Or you may be so tense or hyper you rush through your meal without digesting anything but the non-stop stimuli coming at you from every media outlet available.

I get it.  There is a lot going on.  Most of it out of your control, I might add.  So please, stay calm.  Relax into the wonder of it all. Or if that’s not possible, wonder how to relax into it all. Stressing out gives you indigestion at best,  gas at worse.  And then you’ve got a whole new family legacy to live down.

What would it be like to simply trust your body and allow your belly to inform your brain what it needs to feel truly nourished?  What if you could just breathe into the meal, take your time savoring the food and the conversation, and ease into any emotionally volatile territory without full armor?  What if you could acknowledge the time away from work or your daily routine, allow yourself to be interested in the people you are related to, and celebrate the sacredness of the tradition itself?

This day is different from all other Thursdays.

Not just because we are encouraged to eat more and shop more than at any other time of year.  But because this is something we do in this country that unites us and reminds us we came from a collaborative crew.

The logistics and effort involved for so many people to get where they are going and have something to eat when they arrive is mind-blowing. Travelers, grocers, producers, retailers, advertisers, chefs, assistants, truck drivers, hospitality folks, entertainers, waitstaff, housekeepers, neighbors, pet-sitters, the list goes on and on.

It takes a village to get our collective gobble on. Whether that be a small one, a virtual one, or a global one, it’s all so impressive. For that village, and my tribe in particular (if you’re reading this, that means you!), I am most grateful.

I’d love to hear how you are getting your gobble on in the comments below.

 

turkey5

 

 

No Matter What – Day 15

We wrap up this week of No Matter What with today’s prompt about control versus trust. To play along, see instructions at the end of the post.

fiducia

G:  Where do you try and control your life rather than trust it will all be OK?

P:  A few years ago I came upon a book called Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver. Like most books that rearrange my reality, it came to me at exactly the right time and introduced me to the concept that I might be better off to ease up on the controls.

Last spring when I was teaching my How to Get Your Groove Back class, I again turned to Tosha Silver and her new book Change Me Prayers.

Change Me Prayers are not pleas to be changed so we can tightly control every aspect of our lives.  Quite the opposite.  These prayers ask that we be changed so we can surrender to whatever life presents …. no matter what.

The truth is many of my prayers are best left unanswered.  Especially if they are some slightly veiled attempt to control something or someone.

When I’m truly aligned with the universe, the great creator, the gods, goddesses, or deity of the day, I don’t even have to ask for help.  Answers just appear.  Miracles abound.  Books fall off the shelf.  Packages appear from Amazon.

I have a limited grasp of reality.  My Divine Assistance Team, on the other hand, has a much better imagination and much broader view of the Big Picture.  The solutions they serve up are always grander than mine.  Even when they are so subtle I barely notice them.

The closer I get to living my life in alignment with who I really am instead of who I think I should be, what I think I should look like, or how I think I should spend my time, the easier life becomes.

Sure I’m wandering into woo-woo territory. But for someone who spent sixteen years in Santa Fe, this is sacred ground. I know my way around just about every alternative or metaphysical practice out there.

I was also born in a small farming community in the Midwest where one might suspect the stork took a slight detour on his way out west and accidentally dropped this “penny from heaven” at my parent’s door.

Consequently, I’m grounded in a really free-spirited sort of way.

So I’m absolutely sure of this.  I am much better off when I ask for an outcome that is best for all concerned instead of when I ask for the outcome I believe is best.

I am much better off when I allow for “this or something better” since remaining attached to only “this” rules out any chance of something better showing up.  Rookie mistake.

I am much better off when I trust that whatever it is, it will be okay. Even if it’s unpleasant. There are lessons to be learned, karma to come around, and webs to be woven.  I do not have to understand it to accept it.

It has taken me a considerable amount of time to figure this out. Even longer to trust it. I was intensely attached to my position as general manager of all things for quite some time.  Retiring from that position was the best move ever.

Besides, I have a Queendom to run now.  Instead of having a mighty military to protect and defend my assets, I do this by being vulnerable and surrendering.

And that, grasshopper, takes a lifetime of practice.

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I’d love to hear how attempting to control your life is working out for you in the comments below.  If you’d like to play along just answer the prompt in your own words and leave them in the comments below or keep them to yourself in a journal.  If you’d like the world’s best coach Gillian to send you your own set of daily prompts, contact her at www.gillianpearce.com.

No Matter What – Day 12

If you’re just joining us, find out how to play the No Matter What game below today’s post.

The word "WHERE?" written in vintage wooden letterpress type.

G: If you lost your address book and contacts on your phone and computer how upset and inconvenienced would you feel?

P: My phone and I have an interesting relationship.  Although I greatly appreciate it and all of the amazing things it can do, I am not defined by it nor do I rely on it the way many people do.   Because of that, I misplace my phone a lot.  Consequently this is not something I get too worked up about.  I usually find it when I’m ready to be found.

Without a doubt it would be a nuisance to have to start from scratch and re-establish my contacts.  But just like going through my closets, my office drawers, and my latest goals, sometimes my contacts need to be updated.

Granted, I usually reserve this for “special occasions” known for inciting emotional upheaval, such as moving or losing my wallet, the house keys, my job, or my phone/address book.

When this does happen, I have to look for the silver lining, the deeper meaning, a compelling reason not to have a meltdown.

And here’s what I’ve come up with.  As long as I have not lost the people themselves, it’s merely a matter of inconvenience.  As long as I have not lost my why, I will eventually find my way. (Michael Hyatt has a great quote about this.)

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What about you?  How would you answer today’s prompt by Gillian?  Join us in the No Matter What Game by adding your response in the comments below.  Or contact Gillian at www.gillianpearce.com and have her send you your very own creativity prompt.

No Matter What – Day 10

Modern Elevator Hall Interior

G:  What choices have you made that, had you made a different choice, you feel your life would have been completely different. Not necessarily better or worse but just different.

P:  Last month I had an opportunity to make a choice that would have definitely changed life as I know it.  You can read about it in my post The One That Got Away.

Although it may appears as though nothing has changed externally, I can assure you that everything has rearranged itself internally.

I have this saying in my office that reads, “The deepest joy exists in those rare instances of clarity when there is no wanting, no yearning, no clinging to some idealized life we believe exists somewhere other than exactly where we are.”

I got to experience of one those rare instances of clarity as I struggled to choose between the dream I’d held onto for the past 20 years and the reality I’d been quietly but consciously concocting the last 8.

I got to think about other choices I’d made that could have radically changed the course of my life. Like choosing to remain in the Midwest instead of going to graduate school in California right after 9/11.  Or staying at my fitness job in Texas instead of moving to Mexico to work at an upscale spa long before that.

In the end I simply reminded myself we are always where we need to be, doing exactly what we need to be doing.  Actually, this was one of my “wear sunscreen” pieces of advice I wrote for graduates in my booklet, The Graduate’s Guide to Life.

I came across this today by Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Big Magic.  “I understand that the best you can hope for in such a situation is to let your old idea go and catch the next idea that comes around. And the best way for that to happen is to move on swiftly, with humility and grace.  Don’t fall into a funk about the one that got away.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Don’t rage at the gods above.”

And I absolutely love this from Dear Sugar, aka Cheryl Strayed, “I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.”

So here I am now, gratefully writing from – I kid you not – Shoreline Drive, saluting all the ships that have sailed without me.

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Join us in playing the No Matter What Game. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  Or contact Gillian at www.gillianpearce.com and arrange to have her send you your very own prompts to get your creative juices flowing .