Handling Change

Gracefully, Grumpily, or Gleefully ... what's your style?

My boys both started school last week, one of them for the first time.  While there was a wee bit of clinging and a few tears, their transition from summer in the country to school in the city has been an amazingly calm one.  My two-year-old couldn't wait to start "my tool" and ran off into his classroom on day one without a backward glance!  For the most part, my kids handle change with aplomb and excitement.  We do a little prep if there's a big change coming, but don't make a huge deal out of it, and I'm very thankful that works for us.  Most kids are remarkably adaptable, and learn to accept things, especially those completely outside their control. 

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Focus and Effort

Minimizing the effects of those BIG projects.

Yesterday I completed the longest run of my life, covering 15 miles before I collapsed, sweaty and pleased, into a pile that I hardly moved from for the rest of the day.  I noticed near the end of the run that my fingertips were getting a bit numb.  Given the fact that I've had a history or poor circulation, and I'd been pumping my heart hard for over 2 hours, it didn't surprise me at all.  It did get me thinking though, about what prolonged effort and focus does to a person. 

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Perfection and Parenting

I've always had a thing for perfection, or at least as long as I can remember.  Not necessarily achieving or creating it, but maintaining the illusion of it.  As long as things appeared put together, clean, creative, tidy, then I considered things perfect.  Laboring over school essays, staying up late to frame art projects, using quarts of white-out and adding extra illustrations, taking on the roles of decorator, organizer, designer, finisher, planner ... the list is endless. The pursuit of perfection has been my downfall many times, my nemesis often, and my claim to fame never. 

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One Day Makes Another

Making the most of ours ...


I thought one day was really one day,
    One day is a fun day.
    I like one day.
    One day makes another.
    Because when I think about one day
    there are a lot of days in my heart.
    And that makes a lot of days.

    Amy , age 8 (reprinted by permission)

I discovered the poem above on a friend’s blog last week, in the midst of a hectic and packed scramble. Her daughter’s words caught me, helping me briefly find the pause button.

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Labels - Handle Them With Care

I spoke the phrase "I'm a runner" for the first time this morning, and the emotional jolt that accompanied the statement made me realize that I truly was one, and proud of it! I started with painful jog-walks in January of 2007, and ran my first half-marathon last Saturday. Running has gradually become a habit, a joy, and very nearly an addiction. I'm a runner, and while I'm not likely to turn pro or win any big races, I'm proud to label myself as one.

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The Power of Acknowledgment

My husband left on an extended job out-of-state this past week, it's taking some getting used to.  In the days leading up to his departure, I tried to adjust myself to the thought of being a single parent for weeks on end, and found it an emotionally difficult task.  So many things have to be handled differently or given up, from my regular morning runs to nights off, grocery shopping, school drop-offs, and so on.  He was really looking forward to nights free to paint, an apartment to himself, and the Berkshires in the spring!  I didn't blame him, but couldn't find the words for what was really bothering me about the setup (other than some jealousy!). 

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Giving Up ...

When it's the best thing you can do!

Each person is unique, and as a coach, I help them identify, pursue, fine-tune, and reach their particular goals. We talk about habits, circumstances, expectations, ramifications, complications, strengths, hang-ups ... you name it. You would think that the phrase “giving up” wouldn’t be part of our conversations, but it often is! It's amazing how much giving up goes into getting.

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Breathe Mom, Breathe!

Survival tips for moms (and dads!) once the contractions are over and life as you knew it is gone for good!

Your kids can always take your breath away. It doesn’t matter whether they’re inside you squishing your lungs, stunning you with their beauty, scaring you with a fall, yelling hurtful things at you, saying they love you, announcing that they’re moving out, or calling to say they’re having a baby. They’ll always have that power to take your breath away, and it only goes to prove the strength and poignancy of the relationship.

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Room to Grow

At the Run for the Moms race that I hosted earlier this month, I chose the charity Room to Grow as the beneficiary of all the proceeds.  They serve kids born into poverty by supplying them with the things they need for the first three years of their lives. The name is apt, and one that made me think.  They make it possible for kids to have access to what they need to grow up healthy.
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I didn't believe in vulnerability until I had kids.  I grew up believing that showing any emotion or softness was weak.  Where I got this absurd notion I'm not sure, but I invested a lot of time and energy into keep the code: Never show fear, confusion, surprise, incompetence, or weakness.  It certainly earned me a stoic reputation, as well as a capable but aloof one.

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Divide and Conquer

The other day, we were invited to a "closing party" at a very chic art gallery where my husband had helped draw the conceptual art being shown.   It was an early evening event, and I knew that it would primarily be a lot of schmoozing and art-world discussion while wandering with glasses of wine and exotic hors d'oeuvres.  When a babysitter wasn't in the budget for that week, we were told by one of the organizers to "Just bring the kids!"  My mistake was in ever listening to him!  While not a disaster, the evening wasn't a success in terms of model children or making new connections, and we arrived home tired, frazzled, and irritated.

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The Kiss Principle

Living by the mantra of Keep It Simple, Stupid, known as the KISS principle, has been one of my most elusive dreams. I seem to attract complications and complexities like flies at a picnic, and have grown to believe that I actually call them somehow.  The school mornings where we all get up late and I end up flying around the kitchen making breakfast and snacks, half-dressed myself, begging sleepy boys to get into clothes and seats ... they're the ones that I often secretly enjoy.  I'm put to the "how-much-can-I-accomplish-at-once" test, and usually pass with flying colors.  Meanwhile, the rest of the family is hurried, irritated, and wishing for peace, coffee, and a curl up in the comfy orange chair with a book.  My flip side is that peaceful mornings like this...  (a beautiful photo blog of a year of mornings) call to me strongly too.

Apparently I'm conflicted :).

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Great Expectations

Or not-so-great, as it may be ...

"I expect I'll be home in an hour."

"I expect you to eat everything on your plate." 

"I expect he'll forget to take out the trash."

"I expect to get an A on my test."

Life is full of expectations ... the ones we set for ourselves and others, and the ones others set for us.  They're powerful things, and have a greater influence on my behavior than I tend to realize.


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Self Sabotage

What's your favorite method?

Assuming all human beings have some way of sabotaging their life, or holding themselves back, what would be your favorite method?

a) Procrastination

b) Indecisiveness

c) Following secondary goals (i.e. goals that won't ultimately make you happy)

d) Tolerating

e) Not saying "Yes"

f) Not saying "No"

g) Not always telling the absolute truth

h) Acting as the "Lone Ranger"

i) Arrogance/The Need to be Right

j) Perfectionism

k) Controlling life/people

l) Other _____________

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How  in-dependent are we? With a determined one-year-old starting to exert his independence in our home, the  subject is top-of-mind for me on a daily basis. He fluctuates wildly between  wanting to do things for himself, such as managing a spoon or opening a  container, and crying to be cuddled, fed, or played with. While he's in complete  dependence on his parents, he's reaching for what he can do for himself ... and  especially for those things he sees his older brother doing.

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Growing Up

Holding my  11-month-old in my arms last night, as I nursed him to sleep, I was struck by  his size and strength ... and the fact that he'll turn one in less than a month!   His growth, like most babies, has been phenomenal in the last few months.   Physical and mental changes that can be seen almost daily.  I watch in awe as he  grabs life by the horns and pursues it with glee.

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Everyday Joy

It's there  if we're willing to find it.

Riding the  subway to my group coaching class this week, I looked up at the two women  talking across from me and had a sudden glimpse into the magnitude of the  experience of the human race. A sense of their random (to me) conversation,  their comfort with their own images and relationships, and the innumerable  experiences that led them to that car that very moment. Times that by 6.5  billion for the number of lives being lived in the world right now, and I feel a  bit of awe. Call me odd, but this sense of the immensity of human life confronts  me every once in awhile. It doesn't leave me feeling insignificant, but rather  empowered that every life is unique, important, precious, relevant, and fragile.  I end up reflecting on what I'm doing with mine. 

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Imperfect Parenting

As if There's Any Other Way ...

Last  weekend, our housemate of two years moved out. She lived in our front room, and  was a happy, bubbly addition to the house. She often commented on what "super  parents" we were, and how she envied our perfect little family. I would protest  "If you only heard the arguments!" , which she said she never did.

Truth be  told, I found myself always being a bit more careful when she was in the house. 

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Permission Granted

Giving Yourself the Gift of Permission

After  feeling guilty about not getting this newsletter out when I wanted to, I finally  sat down to write it today. I slogged through a topic that kept getting harder  and harder to write. The phone rang, temporarily relieving me of my frustration.  It was a client, wanting to talk about pushing back a deadline she’d set for  herself.  A few minutes on the phone, and she accepted the change she’d made as a  good one, knowing it would keep her and her family sane in the long run. She was  looking for permission, and was able to give it ... to herself.

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Case of the Gotta's

Having  survived, and even really enjoyed the holiday season last month, I'm now looking  back with some bemusement. It started with my 6-month-old suddenly arriving at  the Must-Have-Toy-Now- Or-I'll-Scream stage. Things that drop must be retrieved  immediately, and boredom lurks around hidden corners. He's discovered the idea  that things can be possessed, at least by his small hands and drooling mouth,  and he's addicted. As the holidays often breed Gotta-haves and Gotta-dos in  young and old alike, I started thinking about it a bit.

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