Week 4: Pretty Sure I’m An Introvert

To say that joining this MKMMA course was “out of my comfort zone” would be an understatement. I am much better at taking care of others from the comforts of my home. Writing a weekly blog and then letting people see it is practically killing me. What if I do it wrong? What if I have nothing to say? What if I never figure out how to change the font or use a Gravatar? What if I suck at it? I was a Writing major in college and didn’t choose Journalism because I enjoyed writing and didn’t want to have to meet deadlines with it to make a living. I wrote stories and prose and poetry in High-school, and I received awards and recognition for it. It was my safety choice when it came to looking at the future.  I almost won a Coast Guard scholarship to the CG Academy, which would have taken me in a much more disciplined direction, and I had been accepted to schools in other states to study Marine Science for a B.S., but then I panicked at the last minute and re-applied to schools within New York State for a B.A. in English instead. I had already begun my addiction path in high-school, and I knew I wasn’t done with that yet, so I chose to stay “home,” to be closer to my friends and cohorts where I could really feed my addictions and somewhat glide through college with a major I knew was easier.

Two weeks ago, I was set to be in Orlando for a business conference in the middle of a hurricane. I had everything arranged so my two daughters and I could go; rooms and tickets had been bought, the pet-sitters would take care of my dogs, Disney awaited my kids…and then Matthew happened, strengthening into a monster storm that might come directly through my area. What if my house lost its roof or a tree fell on it? What if my fur-babies got scared without us there?  What if some of them got hurt or worse and I wasn’t there to take care of them? What if I couldn’t live with the regrets if any of this should happen? How could I even think of bringing my kids and myself into a potential disaster area? The highways were jammed with people heading away from the storm…I started to consider not leaving, doing the responsible thing and staying home to take care of everyone. So many people I knew were battening down the hatches, the stores were zoo-ish because mobs of people were rushing in for safety supplies, only 2 jugs of water left on the shelf. Everywhere I went, the weather news was on and people were talking about it.

But many of my team members were already at the conference and sending me messages about why I should still come – “It’s sunny here.”  “You have to come!” “The store is open!” All of them had flown in from other states, including Hawaii, and I was the one closest to Orlando and still not there. Then one of them texted “Shelley, hurricanes will come and go. This is your time, here in Orlando. Your future is here…Get in the car, pray to the Creator that you will be taken care of and take your future by the reins. Seriously. You will not regret it.” Sitting in an endless line at the gas station, something shifted in me, and I felt a new sense of purpose and commitment to take this chance, this opportunity, to grow my business and network with people who were well on their way to success, and to see my friends. So I told the kids we were leaving, that we would have an adventure and some pretty cool memories about this one day. And I prayed.

Orlando was wet and quite a bit windy, but the conference schedules were adjusted and we were told to get off the streets and stay in our rooms all the next day, for safety. We all went out to get dinner after curfew, where everything was closed or mobbed, and we finally found a tiny Chinese place that was still open and took an hour to get our food. Then we got back off the roads and into our rooms, where we all slept through the hurricane.

As the conference sessions started up again the next afternoon, I found myself stepping out of my box and talking to people I had never met, including some pretty high-ranking business associates. That sense of commitment and purpose had not left me, and I soaked up every bit of information and wisdom I could get. I even got interviewed for a news segment that’s now on YouTube, and I took a selfie next to the jeep I expect to receive one day because of my success in the business. I kept thinking about how I almost didn’t come, how I wanted to be home, away from all these crowds and taking care of everyone. But then I finally shifted my paradigm and embraced the discomfort, the worry and fear, and put myself in a place where I could invest in myself right now. It truly was an adventure and will continue to be.

 

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WEEK 1: Shifting My Paradigm

*a time when the usual and accepted way of doing or thinking about something changes completely*

I am ready for a Paradigm shift. Well…I want to be.

Things I am doing to make this happen:

1. Joined an NWM company to start my own business

2. Watching videos, listening to calls, reading books

3. Having regular contact with fellow marketers

4. Going to events

5. Inviting others to join me

6. Signed up for the Master Key course

7. Using a Passion Planner for scheduling

8. Waiting out the fear or panic attacks that come with set-backs

9. Envisioning the life I want to be living, feeling it, talking about it

I am most definitely a work in progress!

Week 3: EMPATHY THYSELF

So my entire identity for most of my life has been to “be there” for other people, help them, listen to them, feel for them…often at the expense of my own needs, my own true desires, though at the time I don’t always know that’s what I’m doing. Today I had intended to continue on from last week’s blog and make some profoundly wise connections between this identity and MKMMA, but I now realize I’m not there yet. I have a lot to learn and a lot to practice before I can make that leap. Instead, I will pay attention, learn all I can, and focus on whatever comes to me in these early days of writing a blog.

Today I was cleaning my closet and I came across a spiral notebook I had been using six years ago, when we first moved into this house. The notebook had various lists in it that I always made, to help me remember things I needed or wanted to do. I have these lists all over my house, in notebooks, on sticky notes, on the backs of envelopes. And I have piles and boxes and bags of papers that I try to sort through every once in awhile. Some I never get to because they have been put into the closet of Never-to-be-Seen-Again. Except today when I was cleaning the closet. There were only a few used pages in the notebook – I am also prone to putting a notepad or clipboard or notebook aside somewhere, then not immediately finding it the next time I need it and so I start a new one.

The decision to move here was a complicated one, and a deep part of me felt like I was being reckless and irresponsible considering I had three kids, a long and costly trip  every morning and night to get them all to and from their schools in our previous neighborhood so they wouldn’t be too disrupted, a used car with payments that was NOT designed for off-road activity…and I had just lost my second job in two years and was waiting on the unemployment to start again. I had left the city, with all kinds of stores/post office/laundromat/friends/babysitters within the distance of “I’m almost out of gas but I can still get there,” to move to rural farm country and a bigger house with a mile long driveway and horses and a donkey in the front yard. You know you live in the country when everybody waves when you pass by and every third guy is missing part or all of a finger . The house was huge, the rent more costly, and then there was the added cost of gas (which was NOT $2.12/gal at that time). But it had a pool, and a Jacuzzi and two walk-in closets in the huge master suite, which is why I was feeling guilty. I wanted that pool. I was a menopausal New York-born girl moving everything we owned to the “back of beyond” at the height of a Florida summer. I needed that pool! Considering now how much I use the pool and how many times it’s saved my sanity (and my kids’ lives), it turned out to be a good decision.

So back to the notebook. I tore out the first two pages for the recycling box, but the next one I came to was a list of bills and how much I owed everyone those six years ago. It included double utility bills, current car payments and a balance still owed to a friend on my old car. I still owed a rent deposit, my student loans, the IRS,  and my former landlords for damage not covered in my initial security deposit at the last house. The total I came up with was $71, 557.00 owed and -$210. in my bank account. It was more like a list of despair, an accounting of how deep a hole I was in. I had been brutally honest with this list, even noting the dire consequences that were to occur if I didn’t/couldn’t pay various ones of them. It took up the whole page. Looking at it today reminded me of how scared and unhappy I felt when I made the list, and I had made it to punish myself for “making bad decisions all my life” and to allow myself to wallow in the self-pity it had brought me to. Some of those bills were not my responsibility and some would be resolved for me, but I didn’t know that then.   It took me a moment to remember where I was today before I could move on.

The page after that read as follows, “My Dream…live in this nice house and spend my days taking the kids to school or other activities, caring for our pets, welcoming visitors, paying all the bills on time and paying off anything I owe to others.  I would like to visit my family in NC and NY. I would like to take the kids to Disney or Universal.”

The final written page was a letter I wrote to myself, entitled “My Reality.” It was a litany of every mistake I’d ever made, every possible catastrophe I would ever face, every reason why I was not fit to be a parent or a friend or to have any pets. As I read that letter, I could see the truth in much of it and the self-pitying drama in some of it. Surprisingly, reading the letter did not take me back there like the other list did. It was clear to me that this wasn’t my reality any more. I was still in that house, I still had the kids and the pets, my bills are all paid on time and I’m working on managing that incredibly large (now) student loan. I paid off the IRS, refiled my taxes and got money back from them. We’ve been to visit all the relatives to the north and some of my old friends, and  last summer we spent 4 days at Universal loving every minute of it (Disney was set for last week, but Hurricane Matthew got in the way). Every part of my dream had come true, even better than I’d wished for.

I paused a bit to consider how I got through that period in my life, how the bills got paid and the food got bought and everyone survived. What I noticed most was time. The time has flown by, but I can point to many events and decisions that led me to where I am today, and they all took time to come to fruition. Looking at it from my “six-years-ago self,” I would not have seen those six years as flying by. It would have felt interminable and impossible to get through all the things I’d done and experienced in that time. We can usually do for a day what we cannot do for a week or month or a year, and I had lived through it  all one day at a time. More importantly, I had set a real goal for myself, written it down, and seen it come true. Today I realize how much my attitude affects the outcomes of my wishes, and it’s amazing to me that I didn’t implode from all that negativity on those pages in that notebook. Somewhere along the way, I have grown and made changes to my old paradigm about money and punishment. I’ve learned from this class, and from the teachings of Abraham, that, “If you are wise enough to follow the trail of good feeling thoughts by deliberately looking for positive aspects along your way, you will come into vibrational alignment with who-you-really-are and with the things you really want, and once you do that, the Universe must deliver to you a viable means to achieve your desires.” (excerpted from Money and the Law of Attraction on August 31, 2008.)

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Week 2: The Empathy Monster

I have been a Social Worker most of my life. Even as a kid, I felt a need to “be there” for everyone around me. My parents had screaming fights that often led to locked doors and clothes on the porch, and occasionally there would be a sudden trip to my grandparent’s house in the middle of the night, waking up in a different bed, uncertain if we’d ever go home again. There I would be, confused, worried, as scared as my younger brother and sister were, but always talking them through it, distracting them with games and toys, getting my mom to laugh, telling my dad on the phone that we’d be home soon. That’s probably how I learned to “go with the flow” of my fear, to keep the focus, take care of everyone, get us through the crisis, minimize the damage…I knew how everyone felt and began to instinctively know what they needed to hear. 

And from then on, I wanted those around me to do the same for me…but they couldn’t. I resented it greatly, and spent a lot of painful years trying to get them to change. “If they really loved me, they would try harder to help me feel better.” My pain gave me permission to “comfort myself” with drinking, drugs, buying anything I wanted, going off on people when I was angry…none of those things really helped, but I kept trying anyway, and growing more resentful.

Eventually I came to discover the benefits of therapy, learned that all this was an “inside job,” took responsibility for my actions, got into recovery…tried to communicate my needs to my loved ones in an authentic way. 

Flash forward about 30…40 years. I’ve worked hard, I am told I have great skill in helping traumatized kids settle down, and I know it’s because I can empathize with them. I have been in many of the emotional places they have been in.

Next week, I will talk about how this relates to MKMMA, and how I am growing into myself.