Things I don’t want you to know and things I do want you to know

I was showering this morning thinking about what I would share. I was wondering what would be super scary to share with my world that would plunge me outside of my comfort zone? I got it, things I don’t want you to know about me and things I do.

Things I don’t want you to know about me:

  • I was a loser in high school (that might be a bit harsh and funny that it’s the first bullet)
  • I’m afraid people are judging me ALL THE TIME (this is actually reducing as I didn’t die yet since I started this 6 days ago)
  • I’m afraid people will find out I’m controlling – or at least that’s the story
  • I’m afraid people will think I’m stupid
  • I cry (a lot)
  • I get angry and yell
  • I think I’m fat
  • I don’t especially like gardening
  • I spend way too much time in my head worrying
  • I swear too much
  • I hate cooking
  • I worry about money
  • I worry if about how I come across to others
  • I worry if people think I’m weird
  • I worry I’m not a good mother or wife
  • I have some regrets in life and I also see these things made me who I am today
  • I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do
  • I suffer, blame and make people wrong
  • I feel like a doormat, not enough, and I don’t matter
  • I can be righteous and a victim
  • #metoo
  • I’m not perfect
  • I’m human

Things I want you to know about me:

  • I’m a mother, wife, daughter, public servant, landlord, coach, lover of nature
  • I’m living outside my comfort zone in order to grow
  • I’m posting this to crack open my judgement context
  • I was a single mom for a few years and I’m proud of it
  • I want to learn Spanish
  • I love dancing
  • I love singing in my car alone or with Vivi
  • I love to listen to accents in other people
  • I love culture, different countries and finding out about our differences
  • I love people especially when I get to see inside their beautiful lives
  • I’m learning that others have shit going on in their lives which sometimes comes out onto me
  • I’m learning how not to make that about me
  • I’m going to get another tattoo
  • I’m learning that I can’t be responsible for how people interpret what I say/do. I can clean it up though
  • I’m learning a new relationship with integrity
  • I’m learning how to let go of responsibilities that aren’t mine
    • And that everything will still turn out as it will
  • I want to make a difference in the world
  • I want everyone I talk to to feel touched, special and loved
  • I want to leave a legacy
  • I love it when my husband gardens and I get to eat that nourishing food
  • I love it when people show that they like/love me
  • I’m learning to feel ok without the external input from others
  • I’m learning to love and fall in love with myself
  • I’m not perfect
  • I’m human
  • I’m Love, Leader, Humanity, Play and Hearth and my life purpose is Harmony

<3

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Getting to no… is not so bad

A gift

I’ve been working on my coaching business like cray cray these days. What does that mean exactly? Talking with amazing humans. Conversating about their lives. Listening to what their goals and dreams are that they want to make come true. This job might be the best job on the face of this planet. Well it’s definitely the right “job” (if you can even call it that) for me.

Side note: there are a ton of amazing humans out there wanting to make a real difference in their lives, their community and the world.  

Eventually, the conversation turns to me asking them if they want to hire me. For any of you that I’ve talked to of late, this is not about you, this is all about me.

What’s so: in the last three days I’ve had 5 “no, not right now” conversations for coaching.

What I’m realizing is that the “no, not right now” is a gift.

Don’t get me wrong: YES is an even better gift but I am seeing the “no, not right now’s” as a gift in my commitment and passion for what I’m building.

If everything came easy and everyone agreed to commit to coaching, then I wouldn’t get to grow in what the “no, not right now” means.

Tricked you: “no, not right now” means absolutely nothing. It just means “no, not right now”. That’s it. It doesn’t mean I’m not good enough, it doesn’t mean they don’t like me, it doesn’t mean that people don’t know what they are missing – it just means “no, not right now”.

We, humans are meaning-making-machines. We make meaning out of everything even when there isn’t anything to mean in a lot of cases. This is a life long practice for me to cut the BS and just listen for what is actually being said in every circumstance. Not what the hidden meaning could be.

So I see that when the universe is giving me “no, not right now”, I’m learning a whole bunch of stuff. I’m learning, that it’s not about me. I’m learning that people have their own stuff going on. I’m learning that I have to hear “no, not right now” a few times before I get a YES. I’m learning that the “no, not right now” makes me stronger and I grow. AND I’m getting out there, letting the universe know what I’m up to and what I want to create. I’m in action creating my business – which makes me proud.

And when I hear a “HELL YES!” it makes the journey to loving my coaching business all the more rewarding.

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OnFocus Journey

Footprints

Today I share a piece of unperfected writing that I will submit to Island Parent for consideration for a monthly submission for the next 20 months. I’ve never considered myself a writer, hence never thought myself good enough. It’s with fear of failure, trepidation, and feelings of not good enough that I write this – and will submit it anyway. Please share any feedback you have to make this article great. The idea is to have a monthly article posted in Island Parent of the journey our family is taking both from a worldly standpoint and from a inside-out perspective.


My phone bings. I look at it. It’s Trello being updated by my husband. Ahh the sweet sound of our 5 year-in-the-making, 1 year trip around the world coming closer to a reality. (Trello is a sudo project management app that is helping to keep our unquestionably complicated journey in check.)

5 years ago, after living 5 months in Switzerland while I was on maternity leave, Luc (my Dear Hubby) and I decided that we would come back there on a more permanent basis after our eldest daughter graduated high school. 2 years ago, that idea turned into a trip throughout our world. And now we’re 9 months away from leaving.

A lot has happened in that time, I became a personal life coach, we have both approved leaves from our jobs, and our dreams of where we want to explore have grown and expanded. We are discovering what it means to “slow-travel”. AND it all hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows – oh no! I remember wondering what are we going to do with our house (still a bit of a question mark to be honest). There was one particular planning session with Luc that went wildly sideways (I might have said “forget it let’s abandon this trip altogether” – not a shining moment). Our daughter graduated and then left for 4 years of university across the country to follow her dream (yep we’re going without her). And the thought of homeschooling our soon to be 7 year old sends me running as fast as I can to the interwebs.

While I explored my dreams and goals with my coach, I knew that the only thing between me and my dream was me. It’s all possible. It’s also completely outside of my comfort zone. That little voice in my head tells me still “oh this is going to be a lot of work. Why would you want to do this HARD thing. It’s going to be scary out there. Just stay right here where it’s super warm, cozy and you already know how it’s going to go.” Got it. Thanks. And I’m going to chose something different and something unknown.

One of the first things that people say to me when I tell them we’re going on a 1 year holiday “I would too if I won the lottery”. Know this: you 100% don’t need to win the lottery. There is a crazy big community of families that have been living for years on the road. Giving up their jobs and making money while travelling. There are resources out there that can make travelling cheaper (house sitting, buying plane tickets with points, and budgeting to name a few). Coaching can also help to dissolve your relationship to money – it’s definitely helping me.

What I will provide over the next 20 months: many many resources to help families like us, see that this can be a reality. Inspiration to people to live the life that they dream. Courage to show that it can be done. Reality of what life actually throws at you and the humour that surrounds it. The journey that we as parents are on in this world and in our lives.

Our itinerary so far: New York, France, Switzerland (where our home base will be for 5 months and our youngest will go to school in French), I will walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Italy, Germany, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Bali, Australia and Fiji.

My journey to get me to where I am right now has been one of self love, self reflection, giving up suffering, control, right and wrong, tapping into who I am, humanity, time and money. I have by no means perfected any of this, it’s a work in progress and I will be working on this until I die I’m sure of it.

This has and will be a journey. I look forward to the journey with you.


Robin Howe is a mother to two beautiful smart daughters (18 and 7), wife, public servant and a personal life coach exploring what it means to be human and what this great big world has to offer. Follow her journey at OnFocusCoaching.ca

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Suffering

Peace lives in my heart

An interesting thing was pointed out to me from a friend the other day which has stuck with me: I suffer in order to slow my world down. I don’t necessarily do it on purpose, but that’s what I do.

Let me back up…

Last month, I was mad at everyone and everything. I blamed the course that I’m in for packing on too much stuff all at the same time: a mid term, homework, reading, connecting, different games, etc… I actually thought they were trying to break me. On top of that work was full on every day, and I felt my business was not growing. My family needed me. What about me?!? There was way too much stuff going on.

So I stewed and blamed and cried and got mad, cut off my family, acted like a 6 year old with people on my coaching team, vented, and essentially did anything I could to not do the things I needed to do. I blamed everyone and was really in my shit. Hating on life, hating what was going on for me. It was so easy to just project it outwards and not be responsible for it.

Finally after days of this BS (weeks?), I reached out to a friend who is also another powerful coach, who I had been reserving for the time I was in my biggest breakdown (you’re welcome Bay :)). She listened to me get angry, cry, and she really got me and related to me. She shared that what’s probably happening is that I suffer to stop my world – especially if I felt like it was spinning out of control (I might have a control issue – just one). I might even get sick to make the world stop (thankfully I didn’t get there).

That one conversation was like a sonic boom for me. How much do I suffer? How much do I do that when shits going off the rails? How often do I get super resigned and cynical when things are too much?

Answer: all the time.

What is there to do about that? Well first get that I don’t have to suffer – like for realz people.

AND, it’s ok to have a temper tantrum. And, you can totally be in your shit, and if you are, stop resisting and fighting it. As it will just persist and draw it out longer than you need. I haven’t tried this yet (weirdly the suffering went away instantly after this conversation) but when I will I will be sure to let you know.

And so the practice: notice when I suffer. What am I resisting? Choose: be with the shitty feeling for a while (totally ok) or choose something else.

You might ask, but what about all the STUFF that you had to do? What she shared is that I don’t have to do it all – wait… what? I don’t have to study for the midterm. I don’t have to build my business right this exact moment. I don’t have to do the homework and read (I’m now reading last months book this month due to me choosing not to do that). AND I need to understand what the consequences are of not doing those things.

There’s going to be consequences to your choices. Totally ok.

I chose to not study as much as I wanted. And guess what? I PASSED!!

I didn’t build my business last month. And this month I am.

There were some other things that didn’t happen that I chose not to do. And the sky didn’t fall. I didn’t feel like a failure for not getting it done. It just didn’t get done. I chose powerfully that which I would do and wouldn’t do and for that I didn’t feel failure or pressure.

I let go of suffering to have peace in my heart.

Peace lives in my heart

 

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Loving Myself

Regardless of how anyone else feels about me, I am going to choose to be happy and completely love myself today

Here we go…

I’ve always thought to myself that I wasn’t one of those people who didn’t love herself. I somehow equated not loving myself to low self esteem. Not sure how I got there but that’s where I’ve lived for a long time. And because I made this connection and I know I don’t have low self esteem, I must love myself. I certainly don’t hate myself.

I was on a coaching call the other day with my coach exploring externally-driven love. Essentially, (and this is hard to admit) I need people to show me they love me to feel “enough” and to “matter”. Yikes. And while I’ve been told every way from Sunday that I can’t change people and love has to come from within, I also know I get my cup filled up when other’s show they love me. So that must be the only way…right?

So we explored self love. I was defiant at first given what I wrote in the first paragraph… “who me? no way, I have self love. pppppshhhht…” and then after I stopped disagreeing with her, I took a look. And got honest with myself. Do I even know what that means? Do I honour myself such that I will put myself first? What does it mean to fall in love with yourself? (and not in that egotistical, self centred, narcissistic way.) Am I doing things to show myself that I actually love myself?

Well, you guessed it…. it all came back as a big fat NOPE.

And so I practice. I practiced actually going 1% further in a conversation where I had to stand for myself. I practice buying myself ice cream to give a gift to myself. I practice loving different parts of my body daily. I practice showing myself love and saying affirming things to myself. I practice noticing when people are showing me love (amazingly this didn’t even come through even though that’s what I wanted).

This is a practice. I’m choosing love for myself. I’m choosing trying something different to get a different outcome. Looking to see where I can break the cycle that has held me back all these years of not feeling enough and that I matter.

Regardless of how anyone else feels about me, I am going to choose to be happy and completely love myself today
Regardless of how anyone else feels about me, I am going to choose to be happy and completely love myself today

 

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30 days of Authenticity

Be Fearlessly Authentic

Many of you know I have taken on a new role of personal/life coach (in addition to my day job or course). This new work has sparked a new purpose in me. I’m finding that talking and partnering with people and learning about their lives and what they want to create and their joys and goals, is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done (next to parenting and my marriage of course 😉).

Through this journey, I also have a coach and am exploring what things in my life I’m getting held back by. And so, with that I’m going to share something that is completely outside of my comfort zone to practice breaking out of something that is holding me back.

Judgement.

Judgement shows up for me like I don’t share myself with you, I don’t be me, I hold back, you don’t really get to know me unless you’re a close friend. Then I trust you enough to share who I am. Reason being is that I’m worried you’re going to judge me. And to me, that would be the end of the world.

So, in order to break out of this shell that holds me back, I will practice my muscle of sharing with everyone (not just on FB) those things that I would be worried to share with you because I worry you will judge me. I will share for the next 30 days. (yikes, hello accountability.)

Today, I’m grateful for this amazing life I have, the community that surrounds me, and humanity. I’m grateful for the awareness that I have to know what holds me back, and to know how to access something different to live an authentic kickass life.

 — feeling courage.

Be Fearlessly Authentic

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Practicing

What you resist persists

Practicing is something that I’ve been really looking at these days. I’m finding it especially powerful when it’s coupled with choice.

I’m noticing lately when I work with my clients, that we talk a lot about practicing. It’s like flexing a new muscle and building a new way of seeing things, doing things and being things.

Doing things the way I’ve always done them is:

  • easy
  • disempowering
  • comfortable
  • not a stretch
  • usually has a reaction associated with it
  • is robotic

While there’s nothing wrong with doing it this way, there is another way to chose. And the thing about this choice is it could be more POWERFUL than what you’ve been doing.

Things I notice with practicing:

  • there’s a freedom to try something else
  • it’s out of the comfort zone (where we know where growth resides)
  • it’s learning
  • stretching
  • sometimes challenging
  • more authenticity
  • more vulnerability
  • interesting to observe and notice what happens
  • can be playful, fun and enjoyable
  • less longstanding anger/stress
  • did I mention freedom?

I could see that I could be practicing this for the rest of my life. Looking at different ways to be in life, outside of what I’ve chosen for the last 42 years.

Some examples of this:

  1. Homework has always been -> MEH. If I chose something different, like FUN maybe it will be FUN! Or I could chose curiosity for this. And get really curious about homework.
  2. Gardening has been a burden and a chore. No enjoyment. What’s stopping me from choosing and practicing something else more empowering? SFA. Why am I married to something being so challenging or something that I will hate. And maybe fun doesn’t land, but maybe exploring does. Who knows just keep practicing something different.
  3. My business -> hard. Ok, so let’s chose something different and see if there is more freedom in this. Let’s choose excitement. Let’s choose abundance. Let’s choose easy. And then practice that.

We all know the saying “that which you resist, persists.” So what are you resisting in your life, and what you could practice so as to look at doing it from a more powerful way?

What you resist persists

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Choice

In the end there is always choice

As I travel along this journey through life and the kick ass program that I’m in right now, I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection and noticing about how I’m “being” and what’s going on around me.

These past couple of weeks particularly, have been interesting ones.

I have all the tools at my finger tips to move myself down the path to one of freedom, choice, love. I have the support team, my coach, my family and my friends. And interestingly, with the advice and powerful questioning that comes forward, I realize that this journey is my walk to take.

I’ve been a certain way for a long time. Scratch that, I’ve been many ways for a long time. Ways that empower me and ways that dis-empower me.

Ways that empower me: I can get shit done and take action. I’m a leader. I can build relationships. I have compassion. I have strength. I listen. I’m strategic. I am learning constantly. Knowing that when I’m outside of my comfort zone, it’s uncomfortable but it’s also a place of growth.

Ways that don’t empower me: I am afraid of rejection and judgements placed upon me (this blog post is conjuring up those fears of judgement right now). I control. I see things as right and wrong. I have a fear of not being good enough. I worry (about everything). I need safety in all aspects of my life.

Now that I know all of that, what do I do with it? I can practice choosing differently to have a different outcome. I see how the choices I have made for the last 42 years have impacted my life. Would I change any of those choices, I doubt it. Doesn’t matter. What I now see is that by making the choice to get stuck in something (pissed off, sad, angry, “in it”) is a choice I get to make. And that choice is powerful because I can choose to be sad, and really feel sadness. And then I get to make a choice to continue to do that or do something else.

When I found out about my friends daughter, I allowed myself to feel the sadness. Like really feel it. No suppressing. Crying, sobbing, the whole range of emotions. And then I chose to go to her and be there with her. And the emotional release that I had prior to that had me show up as love, strength and compassion for her rather than still trying to suppress myself.

In the end there is always choice

Yesterday, I was in a meeting, the meeting went a bit sideways and I got pissed off. More accurately: I was embarrassed and angry. I wanted to leave the meeting so bad (run away). I closed my computer and backed away from the table. Then I stopped and asked myself “Am I really going to do this?” and this question was enough to catch me and stop me. I then noticed my heart was pounding/racing and there was tension in my face. I was angry, embarrassed. I chose to take a few deep breaths and BE with the feelings and body sensations. I chose to stay. I noticed the embarrassment was only something I was feeling. And I noticed that it was just an interpretation of what someone else had said. It didn’t mean I was wrong or bad or stupid. It was just a difference of opinions.

Now, I didn’t say much for the rest of the meeting because adrenaline was coursing through my body and to be honest, I still had residual anger. And when the meeting was over, I didn’t dilly dally leaving. But I did go for a walk later to check in again: how was I feeling now? No anger. No embarrassment. No energy around it. No needing to be right. Huh. Not my usual M.O. And there was freedom in that, in choosing and noticing what is really going on RIGHT NOW. What do I want to do now? What choice do I want to make.

That to me comes from a place of inner power. I look forward to practicing this new found self awareness over and over again.

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Leukemia

10 days ago, I got a text from my best friend, “there’s no easy way to say this, my girl has Leukemia”. And in that short text, her world and my world shifted (probably more accurately, her world blew up). It’s so true when they say, “life can change in an instant”. Her daughter is 11.

I couldn’t even imagine what my friend and her husband must have been going through as a parent in that moment and the moments that followed. And even now, 11 days later, where life turns into what’s happening in this instant, and the next instant, and then the next. Where you were planning, and living your life to the beat of your farm, your children, your garden, your community. And now you’re moving in the bubble of a hospital to the beat of the doctors and nurses and how your sick child is.

For me, I first felt incredible sadness and compassion for this beautiful family. This family has been a part of our family since I was 16. I first knew her dad, and then a few year later we were all roommates. Through all my growing years, learning years, influential years, they have been by my side in one way or another. Our babies have grown up together. When I brought my future husband to meet them, there was worry and love for what he stood for in our lives. They were protective of me and my daughter to make sure we wouldn’t get hurt. And then years later, all their beautiful children were flower girls in our wedding and my best friend was my maid of honor.

When I got that text 11 days ago, I was angry for a moment that something so terrible could happen to a family that is so incredible. They have 6 daughters altogether. They are in 4H and are home schooled. They are a very big part of quite a few communities around this island, giving back, loving people, creating abundance in their lives and the lives of many many others. I could list off all the ways they make a difference in other people’s lives but let me just say that their community and our world is better with them in it. Which then had me get angry and wonder: if there was a god, why would he/she let such a horrible thing like childhood cancer impact a family that so clearly doesn’t deserve this.

Directly following that I felt an incredible pull to be of service to them. I’ve never felt such a strong desire/need to be with another human; to be there for them. 1.5 days later, I hopped on a ferry to the mainland to see where I could help these beautiful humans. I got to listen, support, warm up burritos, deliver groceries, give hugs, laugh, untangle tubes, and most importantly I got to BE with them. Like really be with them. Be with them in silence. Be with them while they were reading their family handbook on cancer, be with them when the doctor was explaining. Be with them when she was going into surgery and then waking up from surgery, Be with them when we just wanted to watch a movie. Connection in a time of compassion, grief, distress, confusion, love, sadness. What a gift this was for me.

And then I went home a different person.

We’re all on our own journeys in life. Processing what happens in our lives, as we need to. We put up guards to protect us and keep us safe. In an incredibly stressful time, that’s when our survival mechanism kicks in and says, “Ok, I’m running the show now, this is exactly what I’ve been training for all our lives. Move over, I need to get us back to our comfort zone pronto.” And then we do those things that we know so well to do to get us back to comfort and safety and normalcy. And this happens at times when we’re outside our comfort zones. And it’s perfectly ok.

And as you can imagine, in a situation like finding out your baby has cancer, that would plunge you outside the CZ in an instant. You zip down to one hospital and then over to another where tests, surgeries and doctors fill your life within 24 hours. How incredibly scary and jarring that must be. And then I think of the doctors in that hospital and how loving, kind, compassionate, and strong they are and how well they know to keep you safe, informed, and nurtured. And eventually, the hospital and tests and treatments “become the new normal” as I heard a doctor say. I envision that this new normal is potentially your survival mechanism now morphing to create comfort out of the chaos and protect us and keep us safe.

And through all of this, I continue to send massive light, love and strength to my wonderful friends. I want to be whatever they need me to be to support them in whatever way they need supported. I’m honored to be a part of their journey in this life.

 

 

 

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Comfort Zone

QuoteToday I lived outside of my comfort zone. How do I know I did that? A few ways:

  1. I could feel physical sensations of electricity
  2. I was doing something new that I had never done before
  3. I was nervous/excited
  4. It felt amazing!

Comfort zone is an interesting thing. It’s all warm, lovely, safe, endearing, and hell-it’s COMFORTABLE! AmIright? And it’s also limiting, powerless, and you get to be who you are for the rest of your life. Not sure about you, but I’ve got more growing to do.

What is it like outside the comfort zone: scary, new, powerful, there are opportunities there that we can take, dreams we get to fulfill, possibilities are endless. We get to create what we want to do.

We might not succeed. And so what? If we didn’t succeed all that means is… we didn’t succeed. Let’s try again. If we don’t do it at all, we definitely won’t succeed.

What if we did succeed? What would that create? For you, for me, for the world.

And now it’s time to celebrate that I did what I said I was going to do even though it was outside my comfort zone. And when I post about it, I’m sure that will also be outside my comfort zone. My celebration is that I’m going to turn on some music and do a happy dance right here in my living room. Oh yeah I am!

For now, it’s a surprise what it is that I will be sharing. I wanted to write what is so for me right now. And yes, I want to do a big reveal; ya got me. And by posting that this is coming, I now can’t back out of finishing what I started. So there is an accountability piece there now that I’ve posted this to the outside world.

My coach would say to me “when will you have that completed?” I’m aiming for Sunday night to be able to share it all with you.

I can’t wait. 🙂

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