Archive for the ‘The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman’ Category

6
Dec

The choices we make

   Posted by: Britt Tags: , ,

I was recently challenged by a friend, who made it clear to me that she bases the control of her life on accepting that everything revolves around the choices she makes.

I’ve heard that a lot in Law of Attraction circles, and it smacks to me of blaming the victim. You wouldn’t have been raped if you didn’t wear that dress and didn’t go to that bar. Your father wouldn’t have touched you if you didn’t let it happen.

Yes, life is twisted and shaped because of our decisions. And I’m the last one to advocate blame. In fact, one-third of my book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman, is dedicated to accountability. Accountability, summed up, means “owning your own shit.”

Yet, there is a time in one’s life that a line must be drawn in the sand, a line that separates my choices from your actions.

Yes, I wore that dress to the bar. Yet, he’s the one who raped me.

What you did and who’s at fault are two completely different things.

Yes, I let my father continue to touch me. I was stunned into submission and since he was the authority figure in my life, I didn’t know where else to turn. Yet, he’s the one who acted out his fantasy.

What you did and who’s at fault, again, two completely different things.

I think it’s an oversimplification to say that you are responsible for everything that has happened to you as a result of your choices. It’s an easy way out for the perpetrator. It’s a camouflaged deflection of responsibility using counter-blame.

The sweet thing (and the equally frustrating thing) about human beings is our complexity. And when you hear a gross over-simplification, examine it. You might be surprised at what you find underneath.

Okay you curious lookie-Lou’s (and lookie-Louise’s). Here a bit about me. Me talking about my book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman. This way, you will know a bit about my views and philosophies. And you’ll also have an introduction to the three strategies: accountability, collaboration, and initiative. It’s my first kick-at-the-can video, so your feedback is invited and welcomed. Thanks!

Oh yeah, and Youtube decided to feature my single scowl. Don’t worry, I’m not that scary. I subscribe to learning through laughter. Believe it or not.

It seems we’re well enough into the year where New Year’s resolutions start drip-dropping out of our minds. We let go of them quite easily with the adamant promise to ourselves that NEXT year will be different. Oh yessiree next year. But for now….

  • Gym memberships get placed in the drawer and forgotten.
  • Dreams of self-employment get overshadowed by the debt incurred at Christmas time
  • The vegetable crisper gets emptier and you once again have to push really hard to close the door on the processed foods cupboard.

I remember listening to the audio tape of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. In it she says that at one point (after childbirth I think) in her life she got extraordinarily heavy (140 pounds — I’d KILL to weigh 140 pounds again). And you know how she lost the weight? That’s right my friends, she “thought herself skinny.” She visualized herself at a certain weight and sure enough she achieved her goal in no time flat.

So what’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with me? Whatever our New Year’s resolution was, why have 98% of us already dumped it? Why do we do this every single year, so consistently that fitness companies thrive yearlong based on the reliability of January sales? Are we daft? Do we fail to visualize properly? Do we lack mental clarity? Or is there more at play? Is Byrne presenting only the tip of the iceberg, showing us the point of arrival and keeping the real process submerged?

It’s the same with self-employment. There’s a wonderful plethora (abundance if you will) of guru’s who are ready to “teach” you the “secrets” of instant success. Just drop $900 here, $5,000 there, and if you really want to succeed, buy the full package for only $49,995.

We’re so driven to secrets of instant success that the addiction part our brain does the quick math ($50,000 of knowledge will buy me $100,000+ of annual success, so how can I fail?) and quickly overrides the logic part of the rest of our brain.

In my book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman, I talk about accountability. Accountability, in a nutshell, means own your own shit. Law of Attraction gurus sell this as “You have attracted everything that has happened to you in your life.” Which is bullshit plain and simple.

Accountability means you own (ie respond to, deal with) what has happened to you. Then, you draw a thick line in the sand that distinctly separates what happened to you from who or what did that to you. So if you were abused, your responsible for dealing with what has happened to you and moving on in life; the perpetrator is the one with the serious problem that requires intensive therapy. If you’re overweight, your responsibility is to eat better and exercise more; what got you into the situation is bigger than you, and is a whole separate issue.

(Food orgs are corporations with a legally mandated obligation to increase their shareholder’s investment every year; human consumption does not increase at the same rate as shares, so food becomes more manufactured, more addictive — eg msg triggers neurons to want more even if the stomach is full — and more attractively packaged and marketed). Weight loss (from pharmaceuticals to gyms) is a multi-BILLION dollar business. The tax base is great. So why would governments want to regulate food and health into lower profits?)

Start looking within yourself folks. The gurus who promise you secrets and instant success are simply reaching into your pocket. Entrepreneurship is hard. That’s my most people work for someone else. Weightloss is hard. That’s why the industry generates billions of dollars every year.

There is no “easy button” in your brain. There is no easy button in life. The adrenalin you feel when you walk on fire or walk into an arrow or “survive” a sweat lodge is nothing like the dogged momentum you need to run a business, doing the same mundane thing everyday, facing rejection after rejection after rejection. If you want to walk on fire or walk into an arrow or do a sweat, great.

But don’t expect that hyped adrenalin to see you through the solitary slog actually required to get to where you want to go! and don’t expect “thinking” will achieve the same result as “doing.” Especially when your goal requires some really tough doing.

Sit in an empty room and “visualize” your favorite gourmet meal all you want; if you stay sitting until you’re achieved your mental goal, you’re going to die of starvation. Chew on that for a while.

December eighth. A perfect day. I launched my book online, secured “Amazon bestseller” status, and I watched my daughter’s school’s Christmas show.

Then came the phone call.

“Your mother’s in the hospital,” were the first words out of my step-father’s mouth. I just listened. Turns out she almost died, and we were lucky to still have her with us.

Here’s the short version. My mother is a very strong, fit and stoic woman. She doesn’t complain much. So when she does, you know it very deep and very real.

A few days before December 8th, she complained of cramps. She and her husband when to the clinic in their small town. They poked and prodded a wee bit, then sent her home with Tylenol 3s and a pat on the back. The T3s didn’t help. The cramps worsened. Back to the clinic. Back home with the instruction to wait it out. The the pain got so severe that they headed for the hospital, an hours drive away. At the hospital they did a CAT scan and they determined she had an bowel obstruction. Twelve hours later (yes, it actually took that long) she was under the knife and they removed three feet of dead bowel tissue.

They figure (meaning, they are guessing) that this dead bowel tissue was a slow cellular deterioration that might have began as early as when mom got her tubes tied about four decades ago. The surgeon remarked that had they not removed it when they did, my mom would have died.

Two days later, now out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), mom’s biggest physical achievement is to walk past two doorways without dropping. And her highest item on her list of things to do is pass gas.

On any given day, some experts estimate that anywhere from 10-25% of a doctors diagnosis is accurate; the rest is guesswork. [1] I’ve heard it said that your family physician is guessing about 50% of the time when she or he has to diagnose a patient. I’m now starting to think that that is a very kind and generous estimate. Given the advancement of science and technology, these claims are astounding. And, sadly, they also appear to be true.

Anyway, this post is not meant to be a diatribe on the abysmal state of current medical practices. (That’s just a pleasant aside.)

Really, what I’d like to point out is how my mother’s breathtakingly close flirtation with death has caused me to notice something.

The observation, in a nutshell is this: If I were to freeze-frame this moment in time, upon examination I’d have to say that it’s pretty good all things considered. That’s an assessment based not in what this moment contains (objects, status, achievements, financial acquisitions, wealth and so on) but rather based on what has not yet been taken away from me. My mother is still alive. My daughter. My still-smoking-one-pack-a-day brother. My other brother who teaches overseas and has first hand accounts of tsunamis and floods that have killed thousands. I still have a roof over my head. I’m not hungry or thirsty. I have no chronic pain. My muscles all work. I can still breathe.

If I move beyond the moment, if I contemplate what tomorrow might bring, the pain of living returns. Imminently looming financial destruction. Marital disintegration. Neighborly discontentment (gossip, rumors, higher-order catty exclusions, trickling down to our daughters). Women not reading my book. Women reading my book and hating me for it. The fear of dying obsolete without impacting anyone else’s life, without making a significance difference when I know that I have it within me to do just that. Personal and professional rejection (inevitable when you’re marketing anything; and more hurtful when that something you are marketing is your own sweet self).

And beyond tomorrow’s truly insignificant and topical fears (those I just listed) lie the deeper ones that touch the very core of our being. For it is inevitable that my parents will die,  that some of my siblings will pass before I can make the grand exodus myself. And in the news are constant reminders that there are times that our children die before we do. A greater pain I cannot imagine. I don’t know how parents survive such a sadness.

Life is the great gift, and the knowledge that it will end in an unannounced death is the great tragedy.

My mother did not will death upon herself. Louise Hay would solomly state (without even cracking a smile) that mom has a fear of letting go. That’s what  Hay would quack. Her diagnosis would simply be a the affirmation, “I freely and easily release the old and joyously welcome the new.” Mmm. Let’s see. A fear of letting go. Of life. Yep, I think we all do. And, no, contrary to the stupidity of some LOA advocates, we are not eternal beings; neither she nor I will live forever[2]. Two conflicting truths exist simultaneously. This moment is all that we have; and this too shall pass.

When someone tries to sell you happiness-dressed-in-green (millionaire status), packages it in promised ease, sells it as your inherent universal birthright, and then ultimately charges you thousands upon thousands of dollars, give your head a shake. Jump aside. Fast. For the lights you see are not the divining graces awaiting your long overdue arrival at the end of some dark tunnel. It’s a freakin Mac truck baby, barreling towards you at full speed.

Don’t freeze in the headline. But do freeze just this moment. Look at what you have. Look at it in terms of the big sadnesses that have not yet struck you. This helps you see what you have. And in that, you might be able to say that in this moment, I am actually happy.

Most of the time, though, we miss it.

You don’t need a guru to wake you to it. Save your money. Put it back in your pockets. All you need to do is notice this very moment. And then stop. That’s all. That’s the real secret.

NOTES

[1] http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_22/b3986001.htm. Surgeon Dr. David Eddy  states that “The problem is that we don’t know what we are doing.” The article goes on to say that “[a] great many doctors and health-care quality experts have come to endorse Eddy’s critique. And while there has been progress in recent years, most of these physicians say the portion of medicine that has been proven effective is still outrageously low — in the range of 20% to 25%.” Dr. Eddy is calling for a new medical model, one  that is evidence based. Evidence-based “is a term he coined in the early 1980s, and it has since become a rallying cry among medical reformers. The goal of this movement is to pierce the fog that envelops the practice of medicine — a state of ignorance for which doctors cannot really be blamed. “The limitation is the human mind,” Eddy says. Without extensive information on the outcomes of treatments, it’s fiendishly difficult to know the best approach for care.”

[2] one friend of mine actually believes he can pre-determine the date of his own death. He’s picked a number, and he’s adamantly going with it. What the hell, I say. If you believe you can pick a date, then why not choose never?? Our blessing, our one true blessing is life itself; our curse, our one true curse, is knowing that it’s temporal. It’s this curse which continues to sow it’s misery and sorrow throughout mankind in the bitter-sweet disguise of faith aka religion. Don’t get me started.

1
Jun

Fear of Flying

   Posted by: Britt Tags: , , ,

Here is an excerpt from the chapter, “The (f)Law of Attraction” in my soon-to-be-released book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman. Let me know what you think!

When I watched the movie, The Secret, my fear of flying was renewed. Because, after all, as the Law of Attraction clearly states, what you think about is what you attract into your life.

Shortly after seeing this movie, and having been deeply impacted by it, I started becoming more and more aware of my thoughts. Awareness that you are even having thoughts is a good thing! The average person thinks at the “astonishing rate of up to 400 words per minute.”[1] The more you are aware of the inane chatter in your head, the more you can distance yourself from it and realize that you are not your thoughts.

But the Law of Attraction has you thinking that you are your thoughts. So there I was, with a heightened awareness that I was my thoughts. My thoughts did not like it when my body flew in a plane. I had just come back from a personal vacation on a cruise ship, and the only way to return home as quickly as I wanted or needed was to fly.

On this particular day, I was flying home from San Diego to Victoria. The last section of the flight from Seattle to Victoria was particularly rough. The turbulence literally bounced us into the air a few times. “Empowered” with this new knowledge that I am my thoughts, and that all I have to do is to control my thoughts a little better, I found myself entering a panicked frenzy with the following train of thought:

    If I think it, it will come to pass.
    Crap. Was that turbulence? Uh oh. It’s not stopping. I think this plane will crash.
    Damn! I can’t think that, cause then the plane will crash.
    Stop thinking the plane will crash. Stop thinking the plane will crash. Stop thinking the plane will crash.
    I can’t stop thinking that the plane will crash.
    What if others are thinking that this plane will crash?
    Oh my GOD, how many such thoughts are there on the flight today?
    Surely this plane will crash. Why is that man praying? What does he know that I don’t? Does he have an inside scoop?
    Damn! I can’t think that because then the plane will crash.
    Stop thinking the plane will crash….

and on and on the insanity went.

By this time, I had broken into a damp cold sweat. My heart was pounding, and I felt like it would burst out of my mouth any minute now. And if I kept my mouth shut, it would pop out through my eyes. I had almost stopped breathing. I really felt like I was going to die. It was by far the worst panic attack I have ever experienced. And I don’t normally experience panic attacks.

Then, I had an epiphany.

“Wait a doggone minute here,” I scolded myself, “it matters not what I think, but what the G—D pilot thinks! I’m not in a position to bring this plane down. He is.”

And almost instantaneously, I calmed down. (And, no, the turbulence didn’t stop.)

I had this realization, then and there, that you needed to be in a position where you could actively impact the event in order for the event to be realized.

As The Serenity Prayer[2] says:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change
    courage to change the things I can
    and wisdom to know the difference.

The first fatal flaw of the Law of Attraction (LOA) is that it is not a law.


[1] Robert Gerzon. Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety. New York:  Bantam Books, 1998. p. 108.

[2] Most commonly attributed to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.