WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE UNHAPPY

I have been so unhappy during certain periods of my life that I really never thought I’d feel happy again. During the break up of my first marriage, a falling out with a best friend, the superlatively unhappy post-pregnancy hormones that couldn’t be escaped…

I don’t never become unhappy now, but I have a peace with my unhappiness when it comes. It no longer sentences me to a day, or a life, of doom and gloom. I have to rack it up to having experience with unhappiness and learnt how to deal with it.

You probably have advice for yourself you are not taking when you are unhappy.

There were things you did last time the unhappiness struck that actually worked:

  • Breathe
  • Go for a walk
  • Spend time in nature
  • Contemplate the root cause of your unhappiness
  • Question its validity. Is it really true that everything is shait?
  • Check if you have an undelivered communication
  • Ask yourself if you are getting your needs met
  • What request do you need to make that you are not making?
  • If you are stressed, what can you take off your plate?
  • If you are fighting with someone, how can you reconnect?
  • If you don’t know what is making you unhappy, you could simply ignore it for a while and say, “for the next 15 minutes, I am going to think about something else”
  • Write it all out/get the poison out
  • Give yourself a rule, “I am not allowed to harp on this anymore or I have to clean my neighbor’s bathroom”
  • Humor does work – watch a funny movie
  • Or watch a sad movie to get the tears out if they are stuck
  • Question the mind that says that nothing is going to work – because it once did

I dare you to try all of the things on this list and tell me the needle hasn’t moved.

Warmly, Coach Jo

“THEY HAVE IT SO MUCH WORSE…”

Living in Europe right now is, at the top of the news as well as most people’s lists, the migration crisis. My country has received 28,000 refugees since July alone. I often people hear people say about them, “I don’t have the right to complain about my life, they have it so much worse…”

But here is the deal.

Everyone has his or her own cross to bear.

Someone else’s misfortune doesn’t invalidate your problems.

What we have differently from the refugees, though, is the mental, emotional and fiscal room to work with ours. If you truly want to help and do your part in the migration crisis, whether you are in Europe or not, work with your own feelings. You learn to resolve your own anguish; you will be way more able to help them with theirs.

How do you “work with feelings” many clients ask me.

There are many things you can do. Here are but a few:

Prove the opposite. Sometimes we tell ourselves that everything is crappy. That is the time to ask ourselves how true that really is.

Go deeper into the feelings. Without getting dramatic, stop to feel the stress, hurt or discomfort. See if there are words you can put to those feelings. Can you identify where they started and what is making you so out of sorts? Simply knowing, and not necessarily only the solution, sometimes gives relief.

Get physical. Sometimes there is a problem to which there is no (immediate) solution. All you can do then is to work with the feelings. It often helps to dance, run, and exercise it out. Let the body do the processing.

Talk. Talk to friends, family, a therapist, coach and when you have done all that – talk on paper. Journal, journal, journal. I often tell my clients, “get the poison out”. It feels better and you can also see, black on white, what you are dealing with.

List your issues. In your head, your list of problems is endless. On paper, it is finite. So start listing them. It will come to an end.

Leave yourself alone. If you are down on yourself for something, defend yourself to yourself. Just like you would stand up for someone being bullied who can’t stand up for themselves.

There is more.

Start there.

Report your findings.

Warmly,

Coach Jo

TODAY: INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY…

The United Nations are dedicating this year’s Peace Day, today September 21st, to strengthening ideals. I believe it’s because have an endemic problem, which is that we don’t know how to get along. The excessive warring that is happening right now is not people or politics specific but human race specific. We are not particularly nice.

I also believe that the higher the stress level, the harder it becomes to act decently and peacefully. We no longer recognize other humans for who they are, but view them more like objects in our way. Having lived in New York for 18 years, spent a lot of time in other capitals, and now living in Stockholm, I have observed a lot of eye rolls, push & shoves and scoffing. Sometimes I have been a perpetrator myself. Not so much anymore though as I feel the presence of Karma Kitty strongly…

Here is an International Business Times article on Peace Day for history:

http://www.ibtimes.com/international-peace-day-2015-history-united-nations-day-devoted-strengthening-ideals-2102604

And here are quotes from people dedicated to peace keeping.

(The United Nations may not function perfectly but we ought to be glad we have them):

http://bit.ly/1Pj1tcS

Read, let yourself be inspired and answer a scoff with a smile today…

Shameless Self Promotion

The illustration is from Charles Dickens’ novel where Durdles cautions Mr. Sapsea against boasting.

And here is my promo video of shameless self promotion, created by the ever so fab Erika Shannon.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/17836849/JoReelv2.mov

When I grew up, we would laugh at what we called “Polish reichtag” – whomever screams the loudest wins. Racist and stereotypical, I don’t even know how much it ever applied to the Polish. What I do know is I feel we are about to exit the era of “shameless self promotion”. There really was a time, starting in the nineties and ending about now, when you had to be so loud, so brash and brazen, so shamelessly self promoting, that it WAS the way to get business. Today, not so much. Thank God.

Mr Chen Yu-Hsi, a professor of religious studies says that although humility is important to (in his case) Buddhism, ultimately spiritual attainments are associated with such personal qualities as the “middle way,” a balanced personality that is neither arrogant nor “humble” in the sense of self-abasement. Thus a semantic question may be raised as to exactly what we mean by humility. Does it necessarily imply an under-evaluation of one’s own worth and merits that led the Tibetan lama to reject humility as a virtue for practitioners? From a true Buddhist perspective, the answer is “No.” And we may add the following criteria to define genuine humility:

  • Behave without arrogance, self-conceit and other egoist tendencies such as jealousy and an impulse to show off.
  • Respect others and show a genuine human interest in them without a desire to please or to impress.
  • Come up with an objective and honest understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses, with a realization that we are far from perfect and have a lot more to learn, to improve and to accomplish.
  • While we do not recognize self-depreciation or self-effacement as part of humility, we must recognize that our biological self is fraught with frailties and ignorance and that a true self characterized by such divine qualities as love, compassion, joy and wisdom is innate in everyone of us.

With the above understanding, it is safe for Buddhists to speak of humility as a norm of personal conduct and a mark of supreme attainments that is consistent with the Buddhist “middle way.”

I think the Buddhists way is a pretty decent way to look at humility whether you are a Buddhist or not. I think the biggest thing about it is to be genuine in your interactions. If you are, I think you can be free to talk about your accomplishments or be proud of what you do. I am. Humbly speaking.

Coach Jo

No Time to Waste

If you think you have time – you don’t.

Time is life going by.

We all walk around, either most of the time – or from time to time – in a stupor around time.

Like there is a tomorrow when things can be handled, relationships can be nourished or mended, courses will be taken, skills could be learned…

It also includes the things we are avoiding, things we “procrastinate” on.

The news about that? There is no such thing as procrastination. You just didn’t do it. Rather, we pretend we are going to do it tomorrow, that day that never comes…

What we have as humans is a rare opportunity to make a difference. Especially those of us fortunate enough to be born in peaceful countries, with the background of means to enjoy cars, computers and a good education. Given how much there is to make right in the world, there is so much to do to take advantage of that difference that can be made.

We can do so much…and for all that we could and can do, there is not much time.

So hurry. Think about it. But hurry.

Love always,

Coach Jo

Nothing Exists Except as A Creation of Our Own Minds

 A samurai comes to visit a wise man and says, “Tell me the nature of heaven and hell.” And the roshi looks him in the face and says: “Why should I tell a scruffy, disgusting, miserable slob like you?” The samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but the roshi won’t stop, he keeps saying, “A miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?” Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he’s just about to cut off the head of the roshi. Then the roshi says, “That’s hell.”…

We went from “don’t work hard, work smart” to an era…

We went from “don’t work hard, work smart” to an era where smart people are also working very hard. Which means you work hard AND smart and you STILL can’t get ahead. When my clients want to increase their productivity I tell them their amygdala is already working over time. If they load on anything else, including new high intensity concepts, they will not work smarter, they will work dumber. Because there is a cap to how much we can work until we have burnt too many brain cycles. Reducing stress seems counter intuitive but it is the only way to get to the next level in your business. Promise.

I AM AN IDEALIST

I watched Russell Brand’s movie about his recovery from addiction last night.

His big argument was to not put addicts on methadone, not to make them dependent on yet another drug. That a spiritual awakening and support uncovering someone’s underlying wounds was the only answer.

He may have made things too simplistic for some but he did claim his idealism. That it is not about just keeping someone alive but granting them a full life worth living.

I feel much the same way. I know a handful fantastic therapist, and then I have seen a bunch that are hugely invested in keeping people lost so that they will still be in business.

Just listening but not supporting someone in moving on perpetuates the problem. You feel better because you got to spill your guts, so you can go yet another round in the same habitual, pathological orbit. Whatever your issue is…

That’s why when I coach, I won’t listen to your problem unless you have an intention to do something about it. And THAT I will support you in till the end of time.

Love,

Coach Jo

ARE YOU WORKING YOURSELF TILL DEATH PARTS YOU FROM THIS LIFE?

Today is the last day of the laziest summer of my life.

Although I did things, obviously, much of it was spent in leisurely conversation over lenghty meals. Or puttering about without much results of productivity.

I did my work and had my clients at a leisurely pace and when there was a free moment, I used it to do nothing.

On this last day on the plane from the Middle East to Jordan, it sparked the thinking about how honored workaholism is. It is a disease like any other extreme form of –ism, but in our Western culture, it is celebrated.

Leisure seems to be relegated to the idle rich or the idle poor, both regarded with a certain amount of judgement. The latin word scola stems from the Greek word leisure, which points to what it originally meant. It meant than in leisure you are also learning. Our greatest inventions or works of art did not come through a productivity laden pressure coocker, but from deep thinking in an environment comparatively free of stress.

We can’t be truly creative in the adrenaline driven world of hyper activity. True creativity is sourced from a free thinking, all around free place and we are not free when we are stressed.

This is the idea that this summer drove home – that the thinking I did may very well have led to better results because I was calm and present enough to make the right choices and proper calls at the perfect moments.

 Best,

Coach Jo

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?

I’m spending the summer with my in-laws in their compound in Amman, Jordan. Due to the close quarters, there is much time for communion, conversations and insights following them. A couple of times during our stay, my father-in-law has told me he was impressed with my mothering. That I was patient and handled the chaos of three kids admirably; patiently, logically and without losing my cool.

Those were true compliments as it’s something I care very much about – how I handle my children but more importantly, how I handle myself around my children.

Then – an interesting thought popped up upon him saying this, which was the comparison to all the things I could be doing with and for my children. That somehow I was failing, even if just a little bit.

That made me question, whose side am I really on? When and why did we start playing on the other side of the playing field? When did we begin to stack up evidence to prove our own flaws and failings? We need to stop that. We need to align ourselves with our own team, the one that has our back.

Our limitations are our limitations but they are not carved in stone. This is why we work on ourselves. This is why we break up old patterns and habits. This is why we never give up on our own and other’s fundamental good natures.

So – get back state side on your team, back in the QB position and fight for the things about you that are fabulous and winning…!

Warmly,

Coach Jo