You never run out of money, you only run out of ideas

January 7th, 2013 by Jennifer Grainger

It has been an embarrassingly long time since my last edition. Please accept my profuse apologies!

Did you miss me? Or perhaps this is your first issue, which in that case . . . Welcome!

I’ve been traveling at warp speed for more than a year since I picked myself up from total failure in my previous entrepreneurial ventures, where I was, not so graciously, making every possible business mistake so you wouldn’t have to.

That wasn’t my intention, of course, but as my mentor says “what doesn’t kill you makes a great story from the stage,” which is only amusing in retrospect!

Your Marketing Essentials TIP for today:

There is something way more important to your success than whiz bang, latest and greatest, new and improved marketing strategies (let’s see, did I leave out any clichés?) and that is . . .

. . . the state of your mind set. If you are buying into the gloom and doom of mass media, and believing that there is something outside of you, like the economy or unfair competition or government regulations or whatever . . . as being the source of business difficulties you might be having, then you are missing out on the most powerful source of business success available to you this very minute!

Although it is absolutely essential that there be no unrecognized gaps in your knowledge of what it takes to create, market and run a business (because the most detrimental lack of knowledge is when you don’t know what you don’t know, because there is no way to remedy that), and if you are adequately exercising good business practices, and your products or services are providing the promised outcome, then there is one more thing, that if it is missing, none of the other stuff will make up for it.

No one told me what that one thing was. It just came to me one day in a “divine download.” I was wracking my brain as to why, after all the time, money, blood, sweat and tears I’d spent following various business gurus who promised I’d have the same phenomenal success they’d had if I just did what they did, how could it be that I was failing so miserably?

I tell you it was a slap-myself-on-my-forehead moment when I clearly “saw” it was not so much what the gurus were doing, as much as it was who they were being. It wouldn’t have mattered what road they took. They would have succeeded no matter what. It was their mind set and the willingness to do what it takes to succeed (and failure not being an option) that kept them on the train to success until they finally figured out a formula that worked for them.

This was one of those good news, bad news eye-openers. . . good news because it meant if I made changes to myself at the being level, I could leave failure behind and get on the success train, too.

The bad news was I would have to change myself at the being level, and I didn’t know how to do that.

But you know what? As soon as I had the realization that I needed to change from the inside out, and expressed my willingness to do thatthe Operator of the Universe immediately lined up the resources I needed and placed them squarely on my path.

Along with being led to filling in the gaps of what I didn’t know that I didn’t know about how to market my business and getting the (massively expensive) education I needed (which I now teach my clients), I also came across the book Spiritual Economics, by Eric Butterworth. That is where I learned that “you never run out of money, you only run out of ideas.”

And that changed everything . . . because every time I was stuck, either with “no money” or not knowing what to do next, I’d sit myself down in my meditation chair, and stay there until a clear direction revealed itself (which it always does).

BTW when I hear people say they have no money what they really mean is that don’t have as much money as they want in the moment. If you have even one penny, you do have money. So given that what we think about we bring about, saying we have no money invites the universe to match that thought which perpetuates being broke.

One time last year when I was really broke, I plopped myself down in my meditation chair and sat there ‘til I got the idea to clear out the garage to see what I could sell. I came across an old strongbox I’d forgotten I had. In it was a bag of quarters that had been given to me years ago that I had set aside to go through “some day” to see if there were any that might have collectible value. I took the bag of quarters to the coin store. There was one quarter that was worth $63. Wow!

Without a word, and with an impish smile, the proprietor dumped the rest of the quarters into a machine that looked like a giant coin sorter. Then she wrote a dollar amount on a piece of paper, and with the same impish grin on her face, handed it to me.

Seems these old coins had significant silver content, which I gladly traded for several nice sized piles of hundred dollar bills.

Double WOW!

Though that sort of event has not repeated itself, I have always received a worthwhile idea when I needed one.

If you have trouble quieting your mind to receive inspiration when you are in need of a good idea of what to do next, I invite you to download my guided meditation called “Sitting in the Stillness” that I recorded in the late 90s. It is still one of my favorites. You can access a link to download it in the P.S. at the bottom of this newsletter.

Because we live in an ebb and flow universe, we all experience unexpected expenses, sales revenue dry spells, and satisfied customers who get the results they were after and then move on, leaving a hole in the accounts receivable, just to mention a few of the financial challenges in the life of the entrepreneur.

So the idea came to me that maybe YOU could use a good idea right about now. If that’s true, I invite you to request a complimentary 30 minute telephone marketing strategy consultation with me. In the consultation I will ask you where you are now in your business and where you’d like to be. Then I’ll offer you some tips and suggestions on how to get there. Who knows, you might get one of those “divine downloads” for yourself in the process.

That happened just the other day in a client session. I got a “divine download” for my client that so intrigued her that she wrote a rough draft of an article that she thought she might use some day. Lo and behold the very next day a rep from a local publication dropped by her store to ask if she could write a column for an upcoming issue. When my client revealed the topic she had just written about, the rep’s mouth dropped open and her eyes got wide. “That would fit perfectly in the next issue!”

When I asked my client if it was OK to mention this story in my newsletter, she not only said “yes,” she said to mention her name and contact information. She thought you might be interested to hear what this intriguing “divine download” idea was, and she’d love to tell you.

So here goes . . .

Dr. Eunice Green

Green’s Nutrition and Health Food Store

1906 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA

209-464-5738

http://www.greensnutrition.com

regreen@comcast.net

Give her a call, or drop by the store. She said she’d love to hear from you.

And if you’d like to make an appointment for that complimentary strategy session with me, you can email me, jennifer@JenniferGrainger.com, or call me at 209-369-6188.

I’d love to see what insights show up for YOU!

BOTTOM LINE:You have within you the power to gain direct access to the Operator of the Universe who is always sending you guidance. It is just hard to hear through the static of constant distractions and busy-ness. Developing the ability to sit quietly and really, really listen is vital to your success in this rapidly changing world. If you want to be in the right place at the right time when the “shift” hits the fan, there is no better insurance than a clear channel to your divine guidance, whatever you may call it.

So that’s it for this issue. See you in my next newsletter on November 28th.

Joyfully,

Jennifer

P.S. Here is the link to the Sitting in the Stillness Guided Meditation. I am happy to have you share it, just please mention that it came from me. Thanks

So how is it going for you? Was there anything in this newsletter that triggered some thoughts, questions or comments? Click here to contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

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Don’t Make the Business Mistakes I Did!

January 7th, 2013 by Jennifer Grainger

I didn’t start out intending to make every possible business mistake so you wouldn’t have to, but that’s what happened.

Six years ago when my husband, Dave, and I reshaped our relationship from married, to good friends, we had an amicable parting, each of us coming away with a very tidy nest egg.

Though it would be the first time in 25 years that I would be completely responsible for my own financial well-being, I had no worries. I’d just graduated from coach training, internet marketing was just coming on the scene, and seemed like a perfect vehicle for me to build a profitable business doing what I loved . . . providing spiritual seekers who were wandering down the road less traveled to explore the metaphysical/mystical aspect of spirituality in a non-judgmental environment that respected their personal connection with the divine.

My “product” was the opportunity for them to experience more joy and less struggle as they let go of the false selves they were trained to be, while risking showing up as their authentic selves.

Always on the shy side, I liked the idea of attracting clients with a website rather than meeting people face-to-face through networking, which was just short of torture for me, especially when I was always at risk of coming face-to-face with someone who believed I was “dancing with the devil,” which, of course, I wasn’t!

Like a baby mesmerized by the whirly-gig suspended above her crib, I became fascinated with the big success stories of how easy it was to make big bucks on the internet. All I needed to do, said the 10 page sales letters, was follow the “simple formula” of that particular “overnight success,” and I’d be on my way.

Wanna’ know my BIGGEST mistake?

I didn’t know what I didn’t know! I had no idea how huge the gap was between inspiration and implementation when it came to building an internet business. I thought everyone was like me and would want what I wanted . . . more joy, less struggle and to be my authentic self. Fortunately (or not, depending on your perspective) I had a ton of money to throw at the challenge.

When my life savings were used up in the first two years, I had a lifetime of excellent credit from which to draw cash advances on a plethora of credit cards.

I had a team of web related experts to help me build a humongous membership site complete with online products, online classes, online programs, online forum . . . that fewer than a dozen people at any one time were attracted to.

Though I knew something was missing, I just didn’t know what. This made me easy prey for the next hypey “follow-my-formula-and-you’ll-have-the-success-I-had” crapola.

Then one day I hired yet another coach who turned out to be brutal with the truth. “No one wakes up in the middle of the night desperately worried about how to ‘become their authentic self,’” he said. “What’s the urgent problem you solve?” After two months of coaching with him, in which he made it crystal clear that unless I was Deepak Chopra or Byron Katie, I would never make a living as a Spiritual Coach.

Thoroughly convinced that I had nothing of value to offer anyone, ever, and completely devastated, I retreated into silence, listening intently for a whisper of what to do next.

Don’t get me wrong . . . I’m grateful for all I learned during the five years it took to spend myself into bankruptcy, while working my patootie off to make a living doing what I loved. And, after all, I did survive and recover!

The turn-around came about a year ago, when, through a series of serendipitous events, I was led to my current mentors who have a step-by-step program, complete with fill-in-the blank templates, that set me on the path to success. Just in time, I might add!

No, not as a Spiritual Growth Coach, but as a Marketing Coach to teach what I have learned to women who are going through what I went through . . . working too hard, making too little, and not knowing what they don’t know.

Almost without exception, all my clients have the same two problems that I’d had:

1. An ineffective What Do You Do statement (what you say when someone asks “so what do you do?”) that goes on and on about how they solve the problem, rather than three short sentences that highlight the positive results the potential client can expect to get.

2. No clue how to make it easy for an ideal client to buy when the client bumps into one of the three most common obstacles to buying what you have to offer:

a. Can’t afford it

b. Need to think about it

c. Don’t have the time.

BOTTOM LINE: It is very hard to succeed in business without adequate business training. The “do what you love and the money will follow” is only true if you have the business savvy to be able to turn a profit. As coach Suzanne Evans is famous for saying, “if you are not making a profit you don’t have a business, you have a hobby!” So many women entrepreneurs focus their efforts on gaining more knowledge about the process of what they do, when what they need is business training. As my mentors, Jesse Koren and Sharla Jacobs point out, many hardworking entrepreneurs have more letters after their name than they do clients. This would be really funny if it weren’t so true!

TIP #1: People don’t care how you produce results, they only care about what results they will get, so you must first do a market survey to find out what they perceive is their problem. People are more prone to buy what than want rather than what we experts believe they need!

TIP #2:,You must craft your What Do You Do statement, in three or four sentences at the most, to clearly state the problem you solve and the results they can expect to get from working with you. You can skip all the techno-babble about how you do what you do. They don’t care!

TIP #3: If you go into persuasion mode when the potential client with the exact problem you solve, who wants to buy your solution, says “I can’t afford it,” or “I need to think about it,” or “I don’t have the time,” you are missing a vital skill set. Knowing the respectful and heart-centered questions to ask that support your client in mustering the courage to say yes to their dreams is a learned skill, that along with your ability to be creative in finding ways to make it work for them, is the very foundation of having a successful business. The male-oriented tactics of the past of “overcoming objections” and “closing the sale” are distasteful. I don’t like being “sold.” And I don’t like being pushy or salesy. Do you? Well, neither do your potential customers or clients.

TIP # 4: Marketing is founded on getting really clear on who you are here to serve and then positioning yourself so they can easily find you. No one is born knowing how to do this, so getting educated on this is essential!

If you’d like a free 30 minute telephone marketing consultation to get crystal clear on where you are now, where you’d like to be, and then get some tips and suggestions from me on how to get there, please go to my online calendar and book an appointment by clicking this link:

https://my.timedriver.com/MF6TL

If you don’t find a time that works for you, email me your best days and times and I will do what I can to squeeze you in!

jennifer@jennifergrainger.com 209-369-6188

P.S. As Katherine Woodward Thomas and Claire Zammit co-founders of Feminine Power Mastery say, “You can’t grow yourself by yourself. We all need mentors to move us forward,”

If you have any comments about this newsletter, I’d LOVE to hear from YOU! Contact me at jennifer@jennifergrainger.com

I’ll “see” you in our next newsletter.

Joyfully,

Jennifer 

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My Name is Jennifer, and I am a Niche Switcher!

June 6th, 2012 by Jennifer Grainger

I’d never heard of having a “niche” until I was in coach training. (It refers to the specific group of people that have the “problem” that your business offers the “solution” for.)

Way back in the 20th century, as a freshly minted coach, full of enthusiasm and idealism, I was certain my niche was people on a spiritual path who had no one to talk to, because that was the “big problem” I’d experienced and wanted to help others so they wouldn’t be as lonely as I was in my journey.

I loved working with spiritual seekers, and I always made enough money to cover my business expenses, so making a living as a spiritual coach was not really important. That all changed when Dave and I decided to reshape our relationship from husband and wife to good friends, and I had to earn my own living.

My first business coach tried to discourage me because he said that unless you’re a big name, like Deepak Chopra or Wayne Dyer, you won’t make a living as a spiritual coach.

I trusted my guidance more than my coach at the time, and proceeded to spend the next five years bouncing from coach to coach who offered success if I just followed their formula. I burned through my life savings and all the credit I could muster until I had no more resources to throw at it. This was pretty clear feedback that my first coach was right!

The personal and spiritual growth I gleaned from those five years, and the resources I acquired, are invaluable. So my guidance was not “wrong.” It just didn’t lead me to the business success I was certain I would achieve in the time frame I’d expected.

Through a series of seemingly unrelated circumstances I stumbled upon (was led? guided to?) a married couple (Jesse Koren and Sharla Jacobs)  who offer heart-centered business training for Coaches and Holistic Practitioners. From them I learned there were business principles that I didn’t know I needed to know, and that without that knowledge I would just keep spinning my wheels “doing what I loved and expecting the money to follow!”

Here is what I found out. My “business plan,” which consisted mostly of visualization, affirmations, a really spiffy vision board, energy work, meditation and whiz bang internet stuff, while important, was only half the equation.

I wasn’t paying attention to basic good business practices, like tracking the return on my investment of time and money into my various offerings. And the bigger problem was that I had no clue about marketing, which I had confused with “selling.”

Just like most heart-based businesswomen, I have great resistance to anything that would be perceived as pushy or salesy. I didn’t know that marketing is just doing things that would make me visible to the people who are looking for what I have to offer. I didn’t know how to engage in conversation that naturally leads to finding out if they have the problem that I solve, and if they want to find out more.

OMG! Just like anything, it is so simple, once you know!

Jesse and Sharla offer a program called Double Your Practice in 90 Days, and in January I jumped in with both feet. The foundational piece of the program is to hone in on a specific niche and get out networking to be visible to the people who are looking for you.

I decided to “make my mess my message” (as coach Suzanne Evans offers) and make myself visible to women who were unhappy in their marriage. My “solution” to their “problem” was to help them either reshape the relationship so it worked for them, or show them how to have a heart-centered and compassionate dissolution that didn’t cost a fortune, while keeping the love intact, like Dave and I did when we ended our 25 year marriage.

The process I went through creating a What Do You Do statement for this niche (what to say when people ask, “so what do you do?”) reminds me of when I was 8 years old and learning to swim. Lots of flailing, lots of splashing, swallowing pool water and getting water up my nose, before I could actually swim.

It took a couple of months of “flailing,” but once I had my “hot” What Do You Do statement I eagerly began attending networking meetings. And the darndest thing happened.

While I was working my patootie off to be visible to the women whom I could help, and people at networking events were saying what a big need there was for my services, not one woman would identify herself as being unhappy in her marriage and wanting my help in sorting out whether to stay or go.

I don’t even know how it happened exactly, but one day I realized that the clients coming on board with me were mostly women who needed help making their businesses profitable! Having made every possible business mistake myself in the last five years I now know the truth of what it takes to build a business. Everything I learned from Jesse and Sharla was working for me, and I began passing it on to my clients!

So that is what makes me a niche switcher! From offering to help people in their spiritual quest, to offering to help married women unhappy in their marriage decide whether to stay or go, and now, coming out as a marketing coach, honestly, I feel like my life has been on a roller coaster traveling at “bullet train” speed, and that I have lived two full incarnations in the last five years! And I am NOT kidding!

And the even crazier thing is, even with being on the “wrong niche track” for awhile, I still  doubled my practice in 90 days!

In retrospect I see the experiences of the past five years have set me up to be a terrific marketing coach for businesswomen who are spinning their wheels because they don’t know what they don’t know!

When one of my clients comes to a growing edge and has to face the fear and do it anyway, I am right there with her, because I am not asking her to do anything that I haven’t done. I know what it feels like to be shaking in my Pradas when stepping into new territory. (Just kidding about the Pradas. Definitely NOT kidding about the shaking!)

Duane Packer, my spiritual teacher, often reminded me, “If you want something you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done.” Believe me, growing my business has been a personal and spiritual growth experience like no other.

BOTTOM LINE: Living in the unfolding of your life’s journey can mean a lot of side trips, backtracking from blind alleys and starting over time and again. Yet each experience is a building block for things to come. Staying focused on your desired outcome, and being willing to do things you have never done before may not take you exactly where you thought you were going, but it will take you on a journey of growth that continually asks of you to shed the false selves you were trained to take on, so that the light of your True Self can shine through. And that is a journey well worth taking!

TIP: Getting really clear on who you are here to serve and then positioning yourself so they can find you is key to business success. Getting educated on how to do this is essential!

P.S. If you’d like a free 30 minute telephone introductory marketing strategy session with me, go to my online calendar and book an appointment by clicking this link: https://my.timedriver.com/MF6TL

If you don’t find a time that works for you, email me your best days and times and I will do what I can to squeeze you in!

P.P.S. As Katherine Woodward Thomas and Claire Zammit co-founders of Feminine Power Mastery say, “You can’t grow yourself by yourself. We all need mentors to move us forward,”  

What’s your business/marketing challenge? Send me an email, jennifer@jennifergrainger.com, or give me a call, 209-369-6188.

And if you have any comments about this newsletter, I’d LOVE to hear from YOU!  Leave your comments below.

I’ll “see” you in our next newsletter!

Joyfully,
Jennifer

Posted in at a crossroads, Businesswomen, marketing, marriage, midlife woman | No Comments »

Living in the Unfolding

May 9th, 2012 by Jennifer Grainger

It has been three months since my last newsletter! I have been in “the void” following a couple of intense marketing workshops that have had me dissecting what it is I do, and then attempting to restructure it into a crisp “What Do You Do” statement that succinctly describes “the urgent problem my solution resolves.”

I listened to the advice from the workshop leaders and my tribe of people I met at the workshops who are also honing their What Do You Do statements. With each revision I’ve trotted off to networking meetings to try it out.

Time just flew by as I focused all my attention on finding the magic statement that would clearly identify who I was here to serve: women secretly thinking about getting a divorce, and the solution I was offering: to either help them reshape their marriage by renegotiating it so there was room for them to bloom and blossom, or taking them through the process of dissolving the marriage in a heart-centered and compassionate way that didn’t cost a fortune or make an enemy of their spouse.

The strangest thing happened. Every new client I got, with the exception of one, had a more pressing issue they wanted help with . . . how to get more clients and make sufficient income doing the work they loved!

This left me grateful to be able to show my new clients how to change their mind set from “hating selling” to “being visible to the people who are looking for the solution they offer,” but it also left me confused about my purpose.

I was certain my purpose was to change the face of divorce in America, given the beautiful way Dave and I stepped onto different life paths, ending our 25 year marriage without severing the love we have for each other. But what I found after months of networking is that apparently most women don’t want to make an appointment for a free coaching session to assess their marriage. I am guessing they don’t want to think about divorce until they are sure how it will all work out if they do get a divorce.

Couple that with a tremendous willingness and capacity to suffer unhappiness for years on end hoping something will change (I did that!), and my “solution” is apparently not one women were looking for.

Back to the drawing board!

So this has left me in marketing limbo, not knowing how to take my basic message of “carving away the good girl you were trained to be, to reveal the woman you were born to be, so we can sculpt the life your heart and soul are yearning for,” which I LOVE . . . and integrate it into the niche of helping women market their heart-based business to get more clients and be abundantly financially self-sufficient.

Or maybe there is another niche I am destined to serve. I don’t know. So I am living in the unfolding . . . letting the puzzle pieces come to me, knowing that at some point, it will all fall into place. Since I don’t know when that will happen, I decided it was time to resurface and let you at least know what is going on with me. It is also an opportunity to share my “living in the unfolding” process in the hopes you might find it useful for your own “unresolved dilemmas,” if you have any (smile)!

Here is what I have learned in the last three months. Life is an unending series of dilemmas. And the choices I make are the blueprint for what comes next.

I’ve also become convinced that the Universe has my back (and yours) because every “catastrophe” has resolved in a way that nurtured my ability to trust life. In a light bulb moment I “knew” that everything that happens, no matter how it looks, is purposeful and for my highest good.

When I stay in present time, and let each situation unfold moment by moment, holding the truth that even though I can’t see how there can be a good outcome, I can trust that if I stay connected to my guidance, stay out of fear, and just do the next thing in front of me to do, it will work out in ways I might never have considered.

Actually, it is easier than you might think, once you get the hang of trusting that no matter what happens you will always know what to do (or not do) in any given moment. The key phrase here is “in any given moment.” That means not projecting disastrous scenarios into the future and then worrying that it might happen, but instead to keep a steady focus on how you’d like it to be and to ask High Quality Questions around the desired outcome. This way the power of your thought is on creating the desired outcome rather than the undesired, disastrous one.

This “living in the unfolding” is working really well for me and my clients, too . . . lots less worry, more trust, which results in a calmer, more serene day-to-day experience.

There is not a lot of cultural support for living in the unfolding so you need to have some people in your life who are wanting to live with more joy and less struggle, too; who are willing to exchange worrying about what they don’t want, to focusing on what they do want.

Simple, but not easy.

BOTTOM LINE: We truly do create our own reality by how we choose to view the circumstances of our life. We get to name it as “it shouldn’t be happening,” and create a lot of drama and story about how bad it is (or “they” are), or. . .  accepting “what is” and taking it one moment at a time, doing what is right in front of us to do, trusting that it is purposeful in some way.

TIP: The single most important thing you can do to have more joy and less struggle in your life is to surround yourself with people who have given up the role of victim; who refuse to play the blame game; who believe the Universe is friendly, and that everything that happens is for our highest good.

P.S. Life Sculpting Coaching is a powerful, fast track system for getting clear on what is not working, what your options are in any given situation, then helping you gently carve away what is not working, and soulfully reshape what remains.

I currently have three openings for Life Sculpting Coaching clients. To see if this is your next step, go here and fill out the contact form requesting a complimentary 15 – 20 minute telephone session to see if my Be the Woman You Were Born to Be Program is right for you.

I’ll respond with an email containing a link to my online calendar of available times for you to schedule a convenient telephone appointment time.

If you have that feeling that you want something different for your life, but not sure what it is . . .  you just know that what you’ve got isn’t it . . . consider a free introductory coaching call to get a clear next step.

If you have any comments about this newsletter, I’d LOVE to hear from YOU!  Leave your comments below or contact me at jennifer@jennifergrainger.com .

Joyfully,

Jennifer

Posted in at a crossroads, becoming conscious, expanding consciousness, marriage, midlife woman, spiritual practices, spirituality in relationships | No Comments »

If You Are Hanging By a Thread, Get Ready to Snap!

January 26th, 2012 by Jennifer Grainger

Do you know how miserable it is to feel trapped in a soul-deadening marriage or long-term relationship with no apparent way out except death . . . yours or the other persons?

Well, I am here to tell you, no one has to die for you to be happy!

Make no mistake I know all about silent tears into your nighttime pillow; about lying awake in the early dawn ruminating on how to make the emotional pain of having failed at making the happily-ever-after fairy tale come true; of feeling like you can’t stay another minute, and not seeing any way to leave, while being desperate to find a way to stop the pain!

I know what it’s like to be “stuck at the crossroads;” about “having it all” from the onlooker’s perspective, and feeling guilty and selfish for not being happy when I had so much to be grateful for!

But just because my pain and suffering did not come from bruises or broken bones, or economic hardship, or neglect, and even though I had no “good reason” to be unhappy, I was!

Know what I’m saying?

In retrospect I see that a lot of my pain came from:

1. being so far removed from my authentic self that I freely gave away my personal power, believing that my happiness would come to me from someone or something outside of myself if I just did everything “right,” as I was trained to do.

2. being ill-equipped to vulnerably ask for what I needed in a way that didn’t come across as making my husband wrong.

3. trying to get the emotional nourishment that I never got as a child from someone who wasn’t equipped to give it due to his own childhood traumas.

Over the years, to alleviate the pain, I slowly closed my heart, and brick-by-brick a wall was built between us.

The thing is, my story of the fairy-tale-gone-awry is the case more often than not. And how could it not be?

I mean, really, how many of us grew up with conscious parents who knew how to vulnerably speak from their hearts, and had the communication skills to easily ask for what they needed from someone who was well-equipped to give it?

Right! Not very darn many!

No wonder the majority of  women are having such a hard time getting their emotional needs met in a structure (marriage) that was never intended to be more than a practical way to survive the harsh realities of life on the earth plane!

Just as every other structure we have counted on for decades (if not centuries, in some cases) is coming apart at the seams . . . government, health care, economics, education, employment . . . you name it . . . marriage is undergoing restructuring too. No longer is mere longevity the marker of a good marriage. Today we want an equal partnership with our soul-mate; to be heard, understood and respected, with plenty of space to continue to grow and explore the myriad aspects of our being!

And when there is no more room to grow, like the full-term fetus in the womb, we must be born into the next stage of growth, or die! (At least from the soul’s perspective.)

One thing I know for sure is that the escalating daily pressures caused by uncertainty and rapid change are going to be the last straw for marriages that are not nourishing the heart and soul of the partners, and that have been hanging by a thread for quite awhile now!

I can assure you that no matter how much it has been looking like there is no way out, and that the safest thing to do is suck it up and make the best of it, sooner, rather than later, these compounding pressures are going to cause that fragile thread to snap. It has to happen. The old ways will not survive these new times.

Unless you get ahead of the curve, and take charge of your life by intentionally and consciously creating and following a plan to find the “third option” (the one you haven’t thought of yet, but is definitely available if you know how, and where, to look) here’s what will happen . . .

. . . some otherwise seemingly insignificant thing will be said or done, and the lid will come off the reservoir of swallowed anger, frustration, resentment and grief that’s been sitting in your belly like molten lava in the depths of a volcano. In a flash, the emotion takes over and . . . KA BLAM . . . truth spews forth in an uncontrolled eruption leaving devastation in its wake and a BIG mess to clean up.

If you want to avoid a costly and destructive divorce, you need to tap into the love that is somewhere in your heart, bring it to the forefront, then set your intention to have a heart-centered and compassionate reshaping of your relationship, whether you stay together or not, by carving away what is not working, and reshaping what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for!

Here are 5 things you must do to craft a heart-centered and compassionate soul-u-tion:

1. Get very honest with yourself about whether there is any real hope of saving your marriage or if you have passed the point of no return.

2. Know there are always more than two options in any situation. It is possible to maintain the love and leave the marriage.  Brainstorm with me as your coach, or a trusted friend, or in your journal, any and all “out of the box” possible soul-u-tions to your dilemma. You don’t have to act on any of them, but you do need to let the ideas flow without censorship to receive divine inspiration.

3. Take an objective inventory of what is right in the situation, what attracted you to your partner in the first place, and what you would want to salvage?

4. Take the position that you don’t have to be mad at your partner to declare your soul contract complete, and begin the process of moving on in a way that is a win-win for everyone involved.

5. And here is the most important piece. You must “own” your part of the dynamic that contributed to the disharmonies you have experienced. This will be the foundation for a healthier and happier next relationship, whether it is with your current partner, or another.

To be clear, I am neither advocating for divorce, or continuing to work on a marriage that you have outgrown. My passion is to help you avoid a costly and devastating divorce by getting clear on what your heart and soul are wanting from you, and mapping the strategy for a heart-centered and compassionate reshaping, whatever it is, that is a win-win for all concerned.

BOTTOM LINE: The force of the Universe is pounding humanity with the impulse to evolve into our authentic selves. The evolutionary forces are exposing our secrets, revealing our truths, and shining the light into every deep and dark corner of our subconscious minds, whether we like it or not. (I haven’t liked it all that much a lot of the time!). The good news is that the truth will set you free! Really. There is great freedom in having nothing left to hide!

TIP: For centuries humanity has been manipulated by fear, shame and guilt. When you get a flash of insight into a “dark” truth about yourself, it is easy to experience a “crises of recognition.” It takes great courage to face it squarely and embrace it with love. Being horrified only sends it back into the darkness to come out another time when you are more able to love all of yourself. I can assure you no one will judge you as harshly as you judge yourself!

P.S. Life Sculpting Coaching is a powerful, fast track system for getting clear on what is not working, what your options are beyond the “stay or leave” choice, then helping you gently carve away what is not working, and soulfully reshape what remains.

What deep, dark secrets are working their way into the light of your conscious mind? Hard as it may be to face them, loving them is the key to breaking free! To assist you in bringing your “darkness” to the light, feel free to email your experience to me at jennifer@jennifergrainger.com and I’ll zap it with love and light . . . POOF!

Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Joyfully,
Jennifer

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Life is Miserable When You Are Stuck at a Crossroads

January 12th, 2012 by Jennifer Grainger

If you are not at a crossroads in your marriage or long term relationship,   and don’t know anyone who is, you probably won’t find this newsletter interesting enough to read all the way to the bottom for the solution.

On the other hand, you might want to keep a copy in the event that someone in your life may be getting ready to drop the news on you that they have been at a crossroads for a while and have finally gotten the courage to move on.

You see, 2012 is going to be a year when what hasn’t been working in people’s lives . . . what has been tolerated just to keep the peace . . . what’s been swept under the rug is going to become intolerable. What’s been unsaid is going to get said. What’s been on the back burner is going to boil over.

Here’s how I know. When people feel threatened or backed into a corner, they do the craziest things. And the more uncertain life becomes, the faster the insecurities pile up, until one day . . . BAM! The stuff hits the fan.

A look at the political arena demonstrates that craziness is rampant today, and a precursor to the falling apart that is happening in all sectors.

Take marriage, for instance. 50 years ago, if he brought home sufficient bacon, and she cooked it well, that qualified as a good marriage.

Wow! Times have changed. The centuries old structure of marriage is collapsing under the strain of expecting our partners to fulfill all of our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs!

Yet, that is what the fairy tale promised . . . your Prince would sweep you off your feet, and you’d live happily ever after!

Here’s the kicker . . . the fairy tale left out the most important component of a great relationship . . . a fully authentic YOU! If you have spent years attempting to make things work, doing all the things you have been told were the right way to do it, you have likely lost connection with your own true self!

It’s just a guess, but it makes sense that women who bought the fairy tale have greater expectations of marriage than men, which explains why men are seldom the ones who say “Honey, we need to talk!”

From my admittedly unscientific observation, it appears that it takes less for men to be satisfied in their marriage than women, which leads women to work hard to get to their husbands to change so they can get their needs met, whether they be emotional, physical or spiritual.

While you might be willing to settle for not having your important needs satisfied because you have been convinced that “that’s just the way it is,” your heart and soul won’t give up asking for what they need to feel nourished and alive. As the years go by your heart and soul become increasingly demanding (you feel increasingly unhappy) until the idea of divorce starts showing up.

If your heart and soul are dying of starvation, and you’ve tried everything you can think of to make your marriage better, and you want to leave, but feel you can’t because you . . .

. . . don’t want to hurt him

. . . don’t know how you’d take care of yourself financially

. . . might be worried about the effect on the children, if you have them (even if they are grown)

. . . could be afraid of what your family and friends will think

. . . have fear that you’ll never find love again

. . . are afraid of a costly and destructive divorce

you have the miserable dilemma of being stuck on the merry-go-round of wanting to leave and feeling trapped that you can’t. This misery drains joy out of life, stresses your immune system, and ages you faster than smoking cigarettes and too much sun!

It is the fairy tale that is the root of the misery. It promised a fantasy that no man can fulfill. Yet the needs of your heart and soul are valid, too.

Oh, what to do, what to do?!

1. Take your attention off the relationship and put it on yourself for awhile. Treat yourself like a new friend. Get to know what you like and don’t like. What you want more of. What you want less of. Pay attention to yourself. Do things to please yourself.

2. Start saying “NO” to what you don’t want to do. Only say “YES” when your whole body feels good about it.

3. Fire anyone who has an authority position in your personal life. YOU are the best judge of what is right for you. Your opinion of what feels right to you deserves the highest priority.

4. Take note of how many years you have been taking care of others. Note how many years you likely have left on the planet. Decide when it gets to be your turn to be #1 for awhile.

5. Get clear that it is not wrong or selfish for your needs to have equal importance with everyone else’s.

6. Get support to back you up when those who have had a free ride for way too long start complaining. No one grows themselves by themselves. It takes substantial support to excavate your authentic self, and step into being the woman you were born to be. From that place you become the final authority in your life about what is right for YOU! No one else’s opinion counts as much as yours does when it comes to making choices that affect your well-being.

Today it isn’t longevity that defines a successful marriage, but one in which space is made for each party to thrive and flourish . . . where compromise and sacrifice give way to taking the time to negotiate until everyone’s needs are met, with neither having to sacrifice their important needs “for the sake of the marriage.”

Perhaps you have hopes that your marriage (or long term relationship) can be “saved,” but you don’t know what to try next.

Or, perhaps you have passed the point-of-no-return in your marriage and absolutely know it is time to move on, though you’d like it to be amicable, you may not know where to start.

BOTTOM LINE: If things are not working for you, you can be sure they are not working for your partner! If you are miserable, so is your partner, whether they show it or not. Getting honest with yourself about where you stand is the first step in taking charge of your life to get off the merry-go-round of indecision. Wishing and hoping that things will change on their own doesn’t work. When you shift, others have to shift. Nobody has to die for you to be happy!

TIP: Getting clear on what you want without getting derailed by the not knowing HOW you could make it happen, is the very first step. Once you decide, whether it is to stay and work on it a little longer, or call it complete, the Universe steps in to bring to you all the resources you will need. All you have to do is recognize them and say “yes” to them.

P.S. Life Sculpting Coaching is a powerful, fast track system for gently carving away what is not working in your life, and soulfully reshaping what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for.

I currently have three openings for Life Sculpting Coaching clients. To see if this is your next step, go here and fill out the contact form requesting a complimentary 15 – 20 minute telephone session to see if my Be the Woman You Were Born to Be Program is right for you.
I’ll respond with suggested available times and we can set a convenient telephone appointment time.

Whether you decide to become a coaching client, or not, you can be sure you will receive a solid next step to break the stuck cycle in the no obligation, introductory Be the Woman You Were Born to Be coaching session. Go here now to request your complimentary session.

What crossroads are you facing? Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Joyfully,

Jennifer

Posted in at a crossroads, midlife woman, spiritual practices, spirituality in relationships | No Comments »

Are You Getting Splinters From Sitting On The Fence?

December 29th, 2011 by Jennifer Grainger

If you are getting painful splinters from sitting on the fence in some area of your life, what better time than now, the start of the new year, to resolve to free up the log jam. Prolonged indecision is a major source of emotional distress and mental misery that can only get worse. Life is dynamic, always in motion. You are either moving forward or backward.

As my friend, Patrice, says: “If you don’t tell the Universe what you want, the Universe will give you leftovers!”

Yuck!

In this historic time of accelerated change and escalating uncertainty, with every aspect of life in flux for all of us, you have the greatest opportunity to carve away what is not working in your life, and reshape what remains into a life that you will love; a life that has loads of space for YOU and YOUR dreams!

It takes courage to take charge of your life; to get off the fence at whatever crossroads you’ve been facing; to let go of what is not working and forge ahead with clear intention of what you want to create for yourself.

The things that can keep you stuck at a crossroad are numerous, but here are a few:

1. Confusion. You may not know what you do want. You just know that what you have isn’t it!
2. Fear of what will happen to you if you rock the boat
3. Afraid you will be thought of as selfish, or unreasonable, or ungrateful
4. Not wanting to hurt others feelings

Often your heart’s desire is buried so deep under limiting beliefs such as “it’s not practical,” or “what will people think,” or “I don’t know where to begin,” or “I don’t how I can take care of myself financially” or “I don’t want to disappoint, or hurt (fill in the blank),” and on and on, that keeps you paralyzed at the crossroads until the emotional pain becomes unbearable.

Unfortunately, waiting until the pain is unbearable sets the stage for regrettable conversations, self-sabotaging ultimatums, rash decisions, and destructive actions.

Here’s what you need to do:

1.    Be honest with yourself about what is not working.
The truth will set you free!

2.    Get clear on what you do want.
This is easier said than done, I know! If you don’t know what you do want, start with listing what you don’t want any more of. This will often bring to the surface what you do want.

3.    Create a step-by-step plan to carve away what is not working.
Start with the least volatile area and begin by saying “no” (without guilt or shame) to at least one thing you don’t want more of, and “yes” to at least three things you do want more of.

4.    Reshape what remains through heart-based renegotiation with the people involved in the areas that need to change.
Keep in mind that relationships never end (even with death), they only change. No matter how badly others may have behaved, it is in your own best interest to make the needed changes with grace and ease, rather than with acrimony and bitterness. (Your nervous system and your immune system will thank you!)

BOTTOM LINE: “The way things are, is the way things will be, until a change is made.”(Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics.) Wishing and hoping that things will change on their own doesn’t work. And, being resentful and tolerating the intolerable ages you inside and out. You must be willing to change the energetic dynamics of a deadlocked situation by taking the first step in doing something (anything!) different. When you shift, others have to shift. It is not possible for things to continue as they have once you have shifted, even if the shift is a little one.

TIP: Ask yourself the question “if nothing changes, what will my life look like five years from now?” If you don’t like the answer, vow to begin the process of change NOW!

P.S. You can’t grow yourself by yourself. Life Sculpting Coaching is a powerful, fast track system for gently carving away what is not working in your life, and soulfully reshaping what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for.

I currently have two openings for Life Sculpting Coaching clients. To see if this is your next step, go here and fill out the contact form requesting a complimentary 15 – 20 minute telephone session to see if my Be the Woman You Were Born to Be Program is right for you.

What crossroads are you facing? Email your experience to me at jennifer@jennifergrainger.com or call me at (209)369-6188. I’d love to hear from you!

Jennifer Recommends
Surrendering to Yourself: You Are Your Own Soul Mate
“Once you come to know who you really are, you are ready for anything.” says author, Iris Krasnow in this autobiographical story of living from truth, uncovering who you are; beyond your parents, marriage, children, career; beyond the expectations of your peer; beyond social games.

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This Be the Woman You Were Born to Be blog is published on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month. I’ll “see” you in our next post on January 11, 2012!

Happy New Year!

Joyfully,
Jennifer

Posted in at a crossroads, becoming conscious, expanding consciousness, instability, midlife woman, spiritual practices | No Comments »

Are you Stuck at a Marriage Crossroad?

December 15th, 2011 by Jennifer Grainger

It is so easy to lose yourself within the compromises and sacrifices we are told we must make for our marriage to work.

Years of compromise and sacrifice can only lead to losing touch with the essence of who we are, if we ever really knew it in the first place.

I don’t know about you, but as a little girl I was spoon-fed the happily-ever-after fairytale before I ever had a chance to create a dream of my own.

Yet each of us is born with gifts to share and talents to develop. That part of us that knew who we were and why we were here, got buried alive in childhood, but she didn’t die. She continues to send out distress signals in the form of heart’s desires and soul longings. Yet, most of us have been trained to stop ourselves from responding to these inner calls to avoid the risk of being considered selfish!

Wow! Talk about a no-win situation!

Reconciling the disparity between the happy hopes and dreams of the wedding day, with the painful unhappiness of the dream unrealized, is truly heart wrenching. It is easy to get stuck in the quicksand of feeling that you can’t leave, and you can’t stay, and the only way out is for one of you to die!

It is an agonizing place to be. I know. I was there a few years ago, myself.

I am here to tell you, no one has to die for you to get clear on who you are, why you are here and how to make space in your life for you to bloom and blossom! And it doesn’t have to take a costly and destructive divorce, either.

It begins with you claiming the truth that life is intended to be joyful. When it is not, there is something in your unconscious programming that is getting in the way of you listening to your heart, trusting its guidance, and being free to be the final authority in how you live your life.

Getting clear on which of your hidden beliefs are life-enhancing, and which are life-draining requires examining the duty, obligation and commitment values instilled at an early age. Asking yourself the questions of “what am I doing, and why am I doing it?” can bring up the beliefs about how you should behave, and what you should think and feel. From there you can ask “says who?” and “is this a belief I’d teach little children?”

It takes courage to take charge of your life; to discard beliefs that others around you choose to hang on to; to claim the right to have the final say-so in how you will live your life; to conclude that your inner-knowing of what feels right for YOU carries more weight than your husband’s (or anyone’s) opinion of how you should look, feel or act.

The mostly unrecognized dilemma women face today is caused by hundreds of years of self-abandonment through subservient behavior. Deep inside our female psyche, we carry the cellular memory of being unable to survive without a man to take care of us.

These centuries of self-abandonment survival strategies are a powerful, unconscious force that continually urge us to suppress our own important needs to fulfill the requests and demands of others.

It is hard to believe that it was less than only two generations ago that women were freed to have careers, to have credit in their own name, to strike out on their own, to be in control of their reproductive capabilities, to choose co-habitation rather than marriage. Yet, that explains why the hundreds of years of programming are able to overpower our 21st century, liberated selves with the most insidious idea of all: “that’s just the way it is.”

There is nowhere to go from there except to numb the emotional suffering with alcohol, “retail therapy” (shopping), staying overbusy, being overly involved in other’s dramas, and anything else one can do to avoid the issue.

Accepting the belief that “that’s just the way it is” leads to a willingness to suffer endless days of low-grade depression, resentment, or melancholy.

BOTTOM LINE: If you have reached a place where continuing to suffer is no longer an option, your mission is obvious. You must clear your psyche of the self-abandonment programming, while uncovering additional unconscious limiting beliefs instilled in your early childhood. This is not an objective you can accomplish on your own. Having a trusted advisor, who has successfully navigated that journey, gives you the confidence to move forward, the empathy that has been so sorely lacking, and provides the road map and all-important regular guidance so that you successfully navigate the journey to having a life that WORKS that you just can’t get from  reading books and going to one-time workshops!

TIP: Getting really honest with yourself about what life-draining things you have been putting up with because you have believed “that’s just the way it is” is a courageous first step to working your way out of the suffering. Just looking at it square in the face has a power all its own.

P.S. You can’t grow yourself, by yourself. Life Sculpting Coaching is a powerful, fast track system for gently carving away what is not working in your life, and soulfully reshaping what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for.

P.P.S. The sooner you make the shift from being at the effect in your life, to being in charge of your life, the sooner you can begin to let loose with the creative woman you were born to be, to give to the world what only you can give, and receive all the blessings and gifts the Universe has for you in return.

If you are crying into your pillow at night, or waking up in the night in total despair of your marriage, you are not alone. Millions of women who bought the fairytale are feeling just as trapped and miserable as you are. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are always options to make life better, just sometimes they are hard to find on your own when you are in the depths of despair.

I can help.

I currently have just two openings left for Life Sculpting Coaching clients. To see if this is your next step, go to http://www.JenniferGrainger.com and click on the Life Sculpting Coaching link, scroll down and fill out the contact form requesting a complimentary 15 – 20 minute telephone session to see if my Be the Woman You Were Born to Be Program is right for you.

I’ll respond with suggested available times and we can set a convenient telephone appointment time. Whether you decide to become a coaching client, or not, you can be sure you will receive a solid next step to break the stuck cycle in the no obligation, introductory Be the Woman You Were Born to Be coaching session. Request your complimentary session now at http://www.JenniferGrainger.com

I’d love to hear your comments on this post. Just click on the comments link below.

Joyfully,
Jennifer

Posted in becoming conscious, expanding consciousness, midlife woman, spirituality in relationships | No Comments »

Is It Selfish To Be Who You Were Born To Be?

November 28th, 2011 by Jennifer Grainger

 

By the time we were seven or so, most of us had bought into the “good girl” programming. Since our very survival depended on pleasing our caregivers . . . really . . . it was the most intelligent thing to do at the time!

And how did we know which behaviors were the “good girl” ones? Easy . . . the big people in our lives smiled and hugged us when we performed to their standard, and scowled, or shouted, or said things like “shame on you” to squelch behaviors they didn’t like.

Ouch!

Without being aware of it, most of us have an incredibly strong desire to avoid the psychological and emotional pain of shame. We don’t consciously think to ourselves “I am not going to do such-and-such because I don’t want to feel deep despair at the core of my being.” We instinctively, and unconsciously, resist our heart’s desires and soul’s impulses, by labeling these desires and impulses as selfish, just as we were taught to do!

We were told that nobody would like us if we were selfish. Or we wouldn’t go to heaven. Or we’d be punished. Or whatever . . . so we did our best to fit in and do life right.

End of story . . .

Sort of . . .

For awhile . . .

Until eventually the fairy tale life we were told would be our reward for being good, started getting ragged around the edges, and we noticed happily-ever-after just isn’t happening, no matter how hard we try to make it come true.

Then what do we do?

We blame ourselves!

Bummer!

So here is the dilemma . . . in order to carve away what is not working in your life so that you can soulfully re-shape what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for, you will have to face the fear of being seen as selfish, and neutralize the energy of shame.

It is not that hard to do when you are . . .

. . . curious about discovering your passion
. . . committed to shedding the burdensome “good girl” cloak
. . . willing to pay attention to what you like and don’t like
. . . claiming the right to get expert support in uncovering and trusting your inner compass of joy
. . . willing to do what it takes to make a place in your life for YOU to bloom and blossom

Ironically, in most cases, the person who will give you the most grief about following your heart is . . . YOU! Once you “get it” that your heart is your “inner compass of joy” that is always pointing in the direction of having a soul-satisfying life, you can quickly transform the fear of being selfish into the excitement of discovering your passion.

“Rewarding” doesn’t begin to describe the deliciousness you feel when you spend your days in alignment with who you were born to be, doing what it is that you came here to do! Believe me, the people around you will bask in your radiance, feeling your joy and love when you are living your life from the inside out!

Yes!

Neutralizing shame is a bit trickier than facing fear, because the programming of what is shameful is hidden outside of our conscious awareness where it runs our lives without our knowing it.

Two of my mentors, Katherine Woodward Thomas and Clair Zammit nailed it when they said “you can’t grow yourself, by yourself.” We all have blind spots that keep us from seeing the obstacles to having a life that works. That’s why every good coach, has a coach!

With me as your coach, I’ll be asking you inspired questions that will reveal your blind spots that were installed when you were a child, at a time when you had very little power.

Once you see what is holding you back, you are free, as a grown woman, to make conscious choices about what truths you will live by.

BOTTOM LINE: It takes courage to be who you were born to be. Having a trusted advisor with you on the journey makes all the difference. The reward for stepping into your greatness is a solid connection to that “peace that passes all understanding.”

TIP: Saying “yes” to yourself is a first step in becoming yourself. Ask yourself “What is one action I can take today that will move me in the direction of saying ‘yes’ to a heart yearning or a soul call?” It doesn’t have to be a giant leap forward. Each small baby step leads to the next, and the next, and the next. Each step taken reveals the next step to take.

P.S. You’ve heard it before, and I am here to tell you it is oh, so true . . . the joy and the juice of life is in the journey, not the destination. Living each moment in alignment with your heart and soul, in equal partnership with your rational mind, is a reliable formula for a life worth living!

P.P.S. A life of dull discontent, albeit often filled with the toys and glitter of things, is often the fate of those who choose to not answer the call of their heart and soul.

So, where are you in discarding the selfish label and neutralizing the shame energy? How strong is the unexplored desire to be a “good person” driving you to live your life in pleasing others instead of answering the call of your heart and soul?  Enter your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in becoming conscious, evolution, evolution of humanity, expanding consciousness, midlife woman, spiritual practices | No Comments »

Have the Holidays Become a Burden?

November 9th, 2011 by Jennifer Grainger

I have launched my new website: http://www.JenniferGrainger.com for women ready to carve away what is not working in their lives, and soulfully re-shape what remains. What follows is the text of the first “Become the Woman You Were Born to Be” newsletter I published today.

Enjoy!

Welcome new readers! Although this is the 72nd eNewsletter I have published, this is the premier issue of the Become the Woman You Were Born to Be eNewsletter, which is written specifically for women like yourself, who are ready to step out of the roles you were trained to perform, into the freedom of being who you were born to be. Yay!

With Halloween behind us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Remember as a kid how much excitement and anticipation you had for the holidays . . . how it seemed to take forever for it to get dark enough to go Trick or Treating . . . how the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed an eternity?

Well, fast forward to present time when the pressure to produce a Martha Stewart holiday is everywhere, including in your subconscious mind of how the holidays are “supposed” to be celebrated.

The question is: do you enjoy being the woman in charge of making the holidays magical, or has holiday magic-making become just one more chore to get through. Is “tradition” or Martha Stewartism getting too much “should” time when you think about your holiday to do list?

It is not surprising that each year more women are opting out of pulling off a traditional holiday in favor of self-care by choosing to spend the holidays in unconventional ways that rejuvenate their souls and make their hearts sing.

Like . . .

. . . going away for a few days with the people you want to spend time with (which may be just yourself if your heart and soul are craving some alone time to regroup). Brian and Sylvia, my former in-laws, once opted out of the holiday hoopla by going on vacation without leaving home. (This was long before the concept of a “staycation” was in vogue.)

They told their family and friends they would be at a cabin in the woods for the holidays. They filled the larder with goodies, brought in a stack of firewood, unplugged the phone, and put an “out of order” sign on the doorbell. They put on their coats and hats, got in their car, drove a few miles out of town to a “special occasion restaurant” for brunch. Then returned home as if arriving at a remote cabin in the woods.

Feeling like naughty children who had cut school for a day at the beach, the stolen days were filled with spontaneous laughter and cozy together time.

Have you thought of something you’d rather do for the holidays, and then dismissed it because it was too “far out” from what has become custom? Does thinking about bringing up the idea of doing something different (like not spending it with extended family) seem too radical? Do you need justification for tossing tradition out the window (especially for your own inner-critic who is so quick to shout “selfish” at you)?

This may help.

Every tradition began with a one-time event and simply carried on from there. There is nothing that says you can’t start a new tradition anytime you want. You could start a new tradition of being non-traditional, how about that?

We often forget that our holiday traditions originated in a time when we were an agricultural nation. Not a lot went on in the winter. Days were short. Night was long. Plenty of time to plan and look forward to Thanksgiving with family and friends that you hadn’t seen or talked to in ages! Christmas gifts were mostly handmade. One to a customer.

How crazy is it to let a last century tradition dictate how you will spend your holidays when you are living in a time of instant everything? There is no down time that needs to be filled with something to do until spring arrives!

We are in a new century. Life as we have known it for many generations is falling apart in every sector of life. The old rules, the old ways of doing things, the old ways of family structure are disintegrating right before our eyes.

This means that living our lives from the outside in, that is, looking outside of ourselves for the “right” thing to do, just won’t fly anymore. Yet making the shift from being outer-directed to being inner-directed is not that easy, especially when the concept of “selfishness” is so ingrained in our psyches.

BOTTOM LINE: There is no time like the present to be asking yourself these two insight-generating questions: 1. What am I doing? 2. Why am I doing it? Well, OK, add this third question: 3. What do I want? (as in, what makes my heart sing and my soul jump for joy?)
Then start pushing stuff off your overloaded plate, starting with the changes that are the easiest to make and meet with the least resistance!

TIP: Look out for the “you are sooooo selfish” gremlin to jump out at you. It can’t help it. It is a survival technique from hundreds of years ago when “self-centered” people got exiled from the tribe where certain death awaited them. The cosmic joke is that unless you are currently centered in your self in this drastically changing time, you are in danger of missing the signals you need to be in the right place at the right time when sh*t happens.

P.S. When breaking with tradition the only “reason” you need is “I don’t want to do this anymore, because I don’t want to.” Simple as that. No further explanation needed. Not to yourself. Not to anyone else. Anyone who demands a “reasonable reason why” is a lunkhead . . . just my opinion, of course.

P.P.S. If making changes to holiday tradition that lighten your load and make the holidays a joy for you is likely to be met with fierce resistance from the people who benefit from you working like a dog to get it all done, consider getting support from me to help you gently carve away what is not working and soulfully re-shaping what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for. You are worth it,  and you deserve it. Yes, indeed, you do!

I’d love to hear from you. What are your plans for the holidays? Leave  your comments below!

Joyfully,

Jennifer

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